Leaving Behind Personal Gifts in a Will

Leaving Behind Personal Gifts in a Will

When engaged in estate planning, you have the ability to either leave behind personal gifts in a will or provide them to another person while you are still alive. A gift given during your lifetime or through an irrevocable trust is referred to as an inter vivos gift, and it can help you avoid probate on your trust property. When transferred upon your death via a revocable trust or will, this is referred to as a testamentary gift.

How do testamentary gifts work?

Testamentary gifts go into effect after your death. There are three categories of such gifts: specific, general and residuary.

Specific gifts clearly identify the property you are giving and to whom you are giving it. You would say, for example, “John Smith will receive all of my automobiles.” You may also use specific gifts to forgive debts another party owes to you.

General gifts are gifts paid out of the estate as a whole.  For example, “I give Jane Doe $5,000.

Residuary gifts involve passing off any property left over after the rest of the estate has been administered. You could state, “The rest of my property goes to my son, John,” who would then receive all the property in the estate left after these specific and general gifts were distributed.

If you would like further information and guidance on leaving behind gifts in your will, meet with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.