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Can I Leave Conditions in My Will?

Pen on paper last will and testament document

Some conditions in life are unavoidable. If you don’t fill up your gas tank, your vehicle will run out of gas. Most people have to work a job so they can earn a paycheck. When it comes to an estate plan, individuals may set conditions for heirs to receive assets. We share if this is allowed and, if so, how it could impact a beneficiary.

Yes, Conditions Can be Enforced

In some scenarios, a testator may decide that a beneficiary will only receive assets if certain conditions are met. These conditions have to be legal and not against public policy.

Examples of Conditions

There are many reasons why someone may implement conditions in their will. For example, if a parent bequeaths their estate to their child, a condition in place could be:

“My child is the beneficiary of my estate if they are over the age of 21. Otherwise, my estate goes to (insert name) to be held until my child is of age.”

Another condition could be if someone has met a certain milestone (graduated school, enrolled in the armed forces, etc.) The key to any condition in a will is that it must be specific.

Additionally, conditions in place can specifically focus on HEMS standards — health, education, maintenance, and support. This is a common condition in many wills — any assets a beneficiary receives should focus on these four areas rather than luxury items or a vacation.

If a condition is not fulfilled, the assets will be distributed as if there was no condition to begin with. That’s why it is critical to ensure any condition in a will is valid and to the point. Otherwise, a lawsuit could be filed challenging the condition, and a court will have to decide the outcome.

Concerned About Conditions in Your Will?

Having conditions in a will can bring the testator peace of mind knowing their assets will be distributed according to their specific desires. If you are unsure that conditions in your will are justifiable or are interested in putting conditions in your will, Adler Law can help. With more than 50 years of experience, our team has the knowledge needed to make you feel secure about your future. Reach out to Adler Law today so we can start working together.