A Minnesota bequest is a gift of property. Every person I advise who is wishing to create an estate plan must think through how they want their property and stuff gifted or transferred onto the next person or generation. Generally, this can be a difficult thing to do if you have not given it consistent thought.
When I meet with a person for the first time, I challenge them to place a gift into five categories:
- Cash Gift,
- Sentimental Value,
- Pets, and
- Our Organs.
If my Clients are not able to label their gifts under one of these five categories, I encourage them to simplify. Here is what I mean:
Minnesota Bequests: Necessity
My favorite gift to add to a person’s estate is a gift of necessity because a bequest of this kind generally has a significant impact on the beneficiary.
For example, I recently had a Client who owned a hutch and matching kitchen table. Because the person’s adult child did not have a kitchen table, gifting their kitchen table was important.
On the other hand, sometimes gifting a person’s possessions onto their favorite charity is more significant because it takes the guess work out of the organization mom or dad wanted to help.
Thus, a bequest in MN based on necessity can go both ways.
Minnesota Bequest: Cash Gift
Gifting cash to an organization (a church or non-profit), friend or family member is another popular gift. In fact, it seems to be as popular while we are alive as it is when we are dead.
Gifting cash is a process that requires thought too because most people experience their greatest expense during the last 6 months of life.
Yes, sometimes placing money in an irrevocable trust makes sense because we know it will transfer accordingly. On the other hand, being comfortable in a setting that we worked hard to achieve can also have value.
Thus, making a cash bequest is not always as straight forward as it might appear.
Minnesota Bequest: Sentimental Value
As you might expect, anything you own can acquire a memory or event generally described as sentimental value.
Some of my favorite sentimental gifts include:
- Wedding Rings,
- Military Medals,
- And baseball card collections.
Thus, a gift or bequest that carry sentimental value are sometimes even more important than cash or other gifts described herein.
Minnesota Bequest: Pets
Your pet is a member of your family. It doesn’t seem right to view our pets as a gift or bequest. Right or wrong, pets are viewed as property.
I believe the best way to assure a pet is cared for by a person you know and trust is through the gifting clause of a will or trust. Generally, I like the idea of attaching a small monetary gift to a pet as well such that they are properly cared for by an animal doctor.
MN Bequests: Organs
Every person and faith has a different perspective on gifting organs. Generally, I discourage Clients from making organ donations inside their will.
Instead, I think the best way to handle organ donation is through:
- Health Care Directive (also called a living will), or
- An exclusive directive like that used by a specific entity or university.
If you stuck with me to the end, thank you. Everybody is different and all of us have the ability to identify a gift.
That said, I think associating a gift with one of the five categories referenced above makes this process easier to think about.