Want To Leave Your Friend Something In Your Will? 4 Tips

What do you want to happen to your belongings when you pass away? While no one likes to think about death, planning ahead for your own passing is the only way to ensure that your wishes are followed when you're not around. 

If you want some parts of your estate to go to friends rather than immediate family, estate planning is even more important. Those without a biological or family relation to the estate owner are unlikely to see anything if you die without a will. And with the wrong information in the will, they could still be left out. Here are four tips to make sure that doesn't happen. 

1. Avoid Contentious Bequests

What do you want to leave to a friend? How likely is it to cause drama from family members? If you leave half your estate to a coworker, your spouse and children are much more likely to contest the will and win. However, leaving your baseball card collection to your BFF carries a much lower risk of conflict and higher chances of success. 

2. Be Specific With Assets

While you don't want to spell out where every single item in your estate goes, make a list of specific items with specific instructions. This is a good place to be thorough — providing details like descriptions, serial numbers, account numbers, or photos. This list may be attached as a codicil or memorandum, and it ensures that the executor knows exactly what you want to give to your friends. 

3. Talk With Family Members

Discuss your intentions with family and friends before you pass. Generally, start by letting your executor know about any unusual bequests they should expect. Then, discuss with family members who will also be heirs. Finally, let your friends know if they are being left something in your will. Nonrelatives may not expect to inherit anything, so they wouldn't necessarily know to inquire after your passing. 

4. Consider a Trust 

A trust is a separate legal entity from your estate. You set up the rules of the trust, name a trustee to take over from you, and fund the trust with specific assets. Then, this trust must adhere to these rules for as long as it's in existence. If you want to leave a larger asset — such as a rental home or business — to a friend, this keeps the entire thing out of the will and family drama. 

Where to Start

What is the best route to leave part of your estate to friends and other nonrelatives? Find out by visiting local websites, such as https://www.linskylaw.com/, or meeting with an estate planning attorney today.