A will is the cornerstone of estate planning no matter how simple or complex.  A will bequest is the donor’s direction in written form as to whom and in what manner property is to be distributed upon death. The most common types are general, specific, contingent, restricted, and residuary.  In most situations, the will must be submitted to the local probate court for approval and oversight.  However, not all property needs to pass through probate.  For example, property jointly owned by spouses (like a family home) will pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon the other spouse’s death.  Life insurance proceeds also are usually paid directly to the policy’s a named beneficiary; as do survivor benefits from a retirement plan.  Although a will can go a long way in expressing a person’s wishes, it may not accomplish everything.  Therefore, it is advisable to consider other estate planning techniques. In most situations, the will must be submitted to the local probate court for approval and oversight.  However, not all property needs to pass through probate.  For example, property jointly owned by spouses (like a family home) will pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon the other spouse’s death.  Life insurance proceeds also are usually paid directly to the policy’s a named beneficiary; as do survivor benefits from a retirement plan.  Although a will can go a long way in expressing a person’s wishes, it may not accomplish everything.  Therefore, it is advisable to consider other estate planning techniques.

 

Examples of each are as follows:

General Bequest:  “I give all of my personal property to my daughter Erin Smith.”

 

Specific Bequest: “I give my $100,000.00 ABC Universal Life Insurance Policy to Florida International University to be used for its exempt charitable purposes.”

 

Contingent Bequest: “I give my vacation home in Miami Beach Florida to my friend John Jones.  If John Jones is no longer living at the time this bequest becomes effective, then this vacation home is to pass to the Florida International University to be used for its exempt charitable purposes.”

 

Restricted Bequest:  “I give my $50,000 Bank of America CD maturity date of January 1, 2012 to Florida International University to be used solely for the First Generation Scholarship Program and for no other purpose.”

 

Residuary Bequest:  “Upon distribution of all other bequests provided in this Will, I give all of the residual and remaining property, both personal and real estate, to Florida International University.”

 

In most situations, the will must be submitted to the local probate court for approval and oversight.  However, not all property needs to pass through probate.  For example, property jointly owned by spouses (like a family home) will pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon the other spouse’s death.  Life insurance proceeds also are usually paid directly to the policy’s a named beneficiary; as do survivor benefits from a retirement plan.  Although a will can go a long way in expressing a person’s wishes, it may not accomplish everything.  Therefore, it is advisable to consider other estate planning techniques. 

Where It Works
  • Donor prefers a deferred gift

  • Donor flexibility to gift a specific amount/asset or a % of estate

  • Donor interested in estate tax rather than income tax deduction

  • Donor doesn’t want to part with the asset while alive

  • Donor receives philanthropic recognition

Will Bequests

A will bequest is the donor’s direction in written form as to whom and in what manner property is to be distributed upon death.

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