Wording Matters: All Legacies are Not the Same

  • Estate Planning
wording matters all legacies are not the same | estate and probate legal group

The initial writing of your will or trust is not an easy or quick task. You probably took time out of several days to write down what you owned, your investment accounts and the cash you have. This is where wording matters. Not all legacies are the same when writing your will or trust, and you must ensure you have correctly written your wishes.

What is a Legacy?

After someone has passed away, we often hear about their legacy – the legend of the person they leave behind. We talk about the impact they had on other people’s lives. But when talking about a will or trust, a legacy has an entirely different meaning.

When concerning a will or trust, a legacy is a gift you leave someone. And there are several types of legacies.

All Legacies are not the Same

When writing your will or trust and wish to leave your assets to loved ones, it’s important to get the wording correct. But you must also periodically update your will or trust to ensure your legacies are still valid.

Below are 3 types of legacies you will find in a will or trust:

  • General Legacy
    This gift is payable from the general assets you left behind. For example, you could say, “I leave $10,000.00 to my nephew Nathan.” You don’t specify where the money comes from, simply to give him money when you pass.
  • Demonstrative Legacy
    When you wish to leave a gift of money payable out of a particular fund. ” I leave $10,000.00 from my Ameritrade account to my nephew Nathan.” But if that fund no longer exists, the legacy should be paid from the general fund of your estate.
  • Specific Legacy
    This legacy is having a particular item listed that you want the individual to have. Think of it as the identical thing and that thing only. “I wish to leave my nephew Nathan my 1967 Shelby GT500 car.” But your nephew receives nothing if the car was crashed and destroyed before your death and you didn’t change your will or trust.

As you can see, the wording of your will matters. That is why working with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial. Properly wording your will or trust will help reduce misunderstandings of your legacy.

Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorney

An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you write a will or trust that will follow your wishes and pass your legacy as you decide. To talk to a qualified attorney in the Chicago area, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835. 

AREAS WE SERVE: DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.