How specific did you get in your will?

In fiction, wills end up concerning all sorts of specific stuff like who gets the grandfather clock or the stamp collection or certain pets. I imagine maintaining a will like that in real life would be a pain in the ass as relations with various family members change and assets move around.

If you have a will, how specific do you get in it? Do you actually name specific, small items that are to go to such and such a person or is it more of a general guideline about how to disburse the estate?

Hardly at all. I defined three classes of persons, and divided my estate equally among the non-empty classes. (Since my father passed away, only two of the classes are non-empty.)

(I did it this way to avoid having to write a new will as events – and people – pass.)

How they divide up my stuff is up to them. I hope it’s amicable!

We’re specific mostly about money, though the kids are now past the age where certain stuff would happen if we had gone. Nothing about things, since who knows where they will be in their lives and what of our stuff they want. Most of the big stuff we’ll probably give them when we move to someplace smaller. Anyhow, they get along well enough so it is not going to be a big problem.

And they can figure out what to do with my 6,000 sf books - bwah hah hah.

I haven’t written one, but I did verify that according to the legal system which would apply, my stuff would go exactly to the people I’d want. Being intestate makes the paperwork take a few days more, but that’s it.

If’n when I do buy Grandma’s house I’ll make a will because then there’s several different legal systems involved.

Everything goes to my spouse and vice-versa, depending upon who passes first. If either of us is pre-deceased, then it all gets split evenly among our living children. There are no specific bequests for specific assets.

If you have no written will, who’s supposed to know who gets what? Anybody can claim that you told them you intended them to have that prized piece of jewelry, etc.

Exactly this. Except we had some specific stuff about who gets their ashes scattered where, depending on order of demise.

Very specific … I have pets that I have detailed who they are to go to; I have individual amounts and items to go to various people and then the remainder is split between two people.

I figure that the person administering my estate will have clear guidelines on where best things should go and it would make it easier for them (I doubt anyone would know who was best to receive the cat vs the dog, as my friends/relatives don’t know each other). The individual amounts mean I might be able to help out friends who I know need it.

It’s easy to revise if I want to change things and I keep it up to date.

(my father died with an old will that was a nightmare because it was so general; another relative died with lots of individual bequests and that was easy to disperse - everyone was happy they got their little items that had been thought out by the deceased).

Easy: I don’t have any prized pieces of jewelry. The most expensive things I own are a C1 and an as-yet-unpaid flat; the most valuable ones are two computers whose value to another person is much lower (most people would make head nor tails of the manuals I keep in them, or need the financial information).

My heirs are my brothers, 50:50. My flat’s got a mortgage which will be paid by the associated insurance; I don’t care whether they decide to keep it (it could be helpful if my nephews want to go to college to the big town nearby, buses to the unis there are free) or sell it, so long as they don’t hit each other over the head with it. Same for the car and for the contents of the house. I am NOT going to establish beforehand who the fuck gets, say, great-grandpa’s horribly-maimed poor traveling trunk: I know my aunt would like it, but she happens to have the same kind of cancer that kill Dad (her brother) so… and it’s not as if she didn’t grab everything she could from Abuelita’s, old stuff is not something her own house is missing. If the flat is sold, my sister-in-law will probably want several pieces of furniture for the house my brother is rebuilding in her father’s ancestral village. My other brother’s gf, well, it isn’t even official yet, so she doesn’t get any claims. Books, comics, etc, I know the worst problem Littlebro will have will be letting enough time pass to get fed up with Middlebro dragging his feet about them :stuck_out_tongue: once he has, he’ll distribute or dispose of them.

Same here, though I think we each put in something about some comparatively token amount to a few charities.

ISTR the lawyer stating that when our kids start having kids, we’ll probably want to revise it so that if one of our children pre-deceases us, the appropriate grandchildren split that child’s share, instead of being out in the cold. Still have a while to worry about that though.

We actually spent more time & effort on setting up a trust & guardianships for the kids if we both die while they’re still minors. Given that the primary guardians are getting a little elderly, we may be revisiting that soon.

Just a reminder about privacy, folks:
This is the internet, and this site is sort of anonymous but not quite, etc,etc.

So before we all go publicly declaring the specifics about who gets our 6000 books, or the furniture for our ancestral village home— Let’s not forget that we’re all still alive, and some of our beneficiaries may be reading this thread.

I’ve just got a very basic will. The only complexity is that my inheritors will receive my estate in stages according to their age.

I only wrote a will to try to express who I thought my daughter should be cared by because it might make a difference when it comes to custody, as there is nobody who would automatically assumed to be her carer. Said people are now not suitable, as we lost touch, but there’s noone else to put in their place. I just have to live.

Financially it makes no difference as it would all go to her anyway.

No, they couldn’t. If I died intestate, everything would, without contest, go to my daughter. If I had more than one child, it would be equally shared. If my child had already died, their child/ren would inherit in their stead. If I were married or civilliy partnered, everything would go to my parner (and nothing to my daughter). Nobody else could claim anything, legally. Illegally they could, but that’s the same as with a will.

This is in the UK; Nava is (WRT her will) in Spain. It could be contested in the courts, but unless you have lots of money (in which case you probably need a will for other reasons) it won’t be.


Not just Spain, Navarre: different locations have different inheritance laws, which is why I’ll make a will if I buy Grandma’s flat. In Navarre, my heirs are my brothers 50:50 and that cannot be contested without a written will since I have neither children nor a spouse-equivalent. In Catalonia and under the same circumstances, my mother would be my automatic heir unless I leave a written will, but one can say “50:50 to my brothers” without leaving her anything (even if I keeled over tomorrow, given her age and general health and how bad she is with money I’ll be leaving her better off if I leave things to the Bros than to her directly).

My grandparents made two separate, individual wills, being under Catalan law. Both amounted to “everything to my spouse; if (s)he predeceases me, to our children; if any of our children predeceases both of us, any grandchildren on that child’s side gets equal parts on what would have been that child’s part.” My parents wrote a similar will but it was a single one, being under Navarrese law.

It’s the kind of thing for which consulting a lawyer is very much worth it, as it can save a lot of headaches from formal defects. If my grandparents had written a joint will, it wouldn’t have been valid.

My beneficiaries know whats in our will.
The only thing my older daughter cares about is that she’s not going to shut down our house - she had to close out her grandfather’s house when he moved and when my wife couldn’t travel. At a certain point a will could be not giving people stuff they want but stuff they don’t want.

In California, actually, wills aren’t nearly important as trusts, which everyone with any amount of money has. The trust continues after you die, and the trust document specifies how the money is doled out, not the will. Just a nitpick.

Not specific at all. Just that my wife would get everything, or then the kids, per stirpes. I have thought about leaving a few specific gifts for great lifelong friends, but I didn’t do it.

I’m meeting with a lawyer next week to convert everything into a living trust.

My wife gets everything, and should she predecease me, then my kids are to inherit per stirpes.

I don’t get specific at all. Some jurisdictions allow you to make a list for personal property, but I don’t have anything that I care enough to leave to someone other than my wife and boys.

This is exactly what we have, too

Moderately specific I guess. I specify the division of money between my two children due to one still being a minor. I have specific items listed such as jewelry, silver, china. Bequests to charities and specific relatives but I don’t say who get the ipad and who gets the big screen tv or anything like that. They can fight it out. :slight_smile: