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What is a “Specific Gift” in a New Jersey Will?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | Estate Planning

While a will can help you accomplish many things, most New Jersey residents are primarily concerned with leaving things behind for their loved ones. These are known as “gifts” in the legal world. As you might expect, there are many different kinds of gifts you can leave to your beneficiaries. One of these is known as a “specific gift.” But what exactly is a specific gift, and how do these differ from other gifts you might leave behind?

These questions are probably best left answered by an estate planning attorney in New Jersey. Our legal professionals are familiar with the overall process of drafting a will, and we can help you make the best decisions for you and your beneficiaries. Leaving behind gifts is relatively straightforward, but there are a few things you need to understand if you want to get the most out of your will.

Specific Gifts Explained

Specific gifts are among the most straightforward types of assets you can leave behind. The defining characteristic of these gifts is that they are easily identifiable. If you word your will correctly, there can be no real confusion over what the gift is and who it goes to. Specific gifts are things like cars, houses, pieces of art, pieces of jewelry, and so on. Specific gifts can also include collections of individual assets. For example, you could leave behind all of your real estate properties in New Jersey to a single person. Or you may leave behind all of the contents of a storage locker to a single person, and this storage locker may contain numerous assets.

Other kinds of gifts include general, demonstrative, and residual gifts. General gifts are not specific items, and they are usually sums of cash taken from the estate. Demonstrative gifts combine the features of both general and specific gifts. For example, a will might state that a certain beneficiary should receive $100,000 while specifying that this money should come from the sale of a specific asset, such as a home. Residual gifts involve giving the remains of an estate to a person. For example, a will might state that a certain aunt should receive whatever’s left over after other beneficiaries have received their share.

When it Comes to Specific Gifts, You Need to be Specific

The clue is in the name — specific gifts should be as specific as possible. Identify the recipient of the gift as clearly as possible. If you have three sisters, you cannot just say, “I leave my car to my sister.” You need to specify which one gets the gift. The same logic applies if you have multiple cars. You need to specify which recipient gets which car instead of simply referring to the gift as “my car.” Sharing gifts between family members can also pose issues. For example, if you state that “My brothers will receive $5,000,” it is not clear whether the brothers will share $5,000 or whether they will receive $5,000 each.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the New Jersey area for a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney, contact Giro, LLP today. We have considerable experience with the general estate planning process, and we can help you handle gifts with confidence. With our assistance, writing a will does not have to feel like a daunting process. Reach out and book your consultation today.