A Will is necessary even if other planning arrangements, such as a Living Trust or jointly titled property, are in place.
A valid Will is a legal binding document that can help guarantee your objectives at death – your legacy – will be honored. A Will is a document written and executed in accordance with formalities prescribed by state law. It is, therefore, recommended that you secure the assistance of a competent attorney licensed in the state where you reside.
Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. It is by means of your Will you are able to:
- Distribute assets accumulated during lifetime.
- Contribute to the financial security of your heirs and beneficiaries.
- Benefit causes and charities you hold in esteem.
- Memorialize yourself and other loved ones.
- Minimize taxes your estate will owe.
- Maximize the assets your beneficiaries will receive.
Types of Bequests
There are several forms or methods of transferring properties under the terms of a Will through bequests. For use here, the term “beneficiary” refers to both single and multiple recipients.
- A specific bequest directs that a specific item or items be given to a beneficiary.
Example: I bequeath my diamond rings to my daughter, Mary Smith.
- A general bequest directs that a specified amount of money or percentage of your estate be paid to a beneficiary.
Example: I bequeath $25,000 to my son, Joe Smith (absolute). Or, I bequeath 25% of my cash assets (variable) to my son, Joe Smith.
- A residuary bequest directs that a beneficiary receive all that remains in an estate after payment of funeral costs, debts, taxes, administration and probate costs, and specific and general bequests have been made.
Example: The residuary of my estate is to be divided between my daughter, Mary Smith, and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
A contingent beneficiary may be named in your Will to receive bequests intended for the primary beneficiary in the event the latter dies first. Under the laws of most states, if a beneficiary of your Will dies before you, that bequest will be void and the property will pass to any residuary beneficiary you have named. If the residuary beneficiary has not survived, the property may pass under the intestacy laws of your state. Charities are often named as contingent beneficiaries.
There are several types of bequests to Charities. We hope you will consider naming the Missionary Oblates as a beneficiary of your Will (our legal title is: U.S. Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Inc.). Any gift directed to the Missionary Oblates will be greatly appreciated and will help fulfill our ministries in the years to come.