Learn How a Bequest in Your Will Works

Make sure your wishes are carried out precisely the way you envisioned. The following are three simple steps for setting up a bequest.

1. How do you want to give?

Pick from one of these four options.

  • A specific bequest gives us a particular asset, such as shares of stock. If you disposed of the asset before your death, we won’t receive your intended gift because we cannot claim any other asset.
  • A general bequest gives us a stated sum of money. If there is insufficient cash in your estate to cover the bequest, other assets will be sold for cash to honor your wishes for us.
  • A residuary bequest gives the “rest, residue and remainder” of your estate, or, more commonly, a percentage of the residue after all other bequests, debts and taxes have been paid.
  • A contingent bequest requires a certain event to occur before the gift can happen. For example, you could bequeath funds to a family member provided that person survives you; if not, the funds would then go to .

2. How would you like to use your gift?

Choose from one of these three options.

  • An unrestricted bequest allows us to use the assets in the most beneficial way.
  • A restricted bequest allows you to specify how we are to use the funds. Contact us in advance to be certain your intent can be fulfilled.
  • An endowed bequest allows you to restrict the principal of your gift so we can use only a small portion each year, typically allowing the fund to last forever.

3. Meet with your estate planning attorney.

Whether you need to create a will or simply update an old document, you’ll want to seek the help of an estate planning attorney.