Can I put conditions in my will?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2021 | Wills |

It is a very wise move to plan for what your heirs will receive when you pass away. While drafting a will, you may realize that you would like to leave certain assets untouched until someone reaches a certain age, for example, or finishes schooling.

It is acceptable to put conditions in your will. There are some stipulations, however, regarding what will and will not be enforceable.

The conditions must be legal

According to FindLaw experts, the conditions you put in your will must be legal in order to be executable. Examples of conditions that are not legally enforceable include the following:

  • Requiring that someone gets married or divorced before he or she can receive assets
  • Requiring that someone change his or her religion
  • Specifying that funds are for illegal activities
  • Requiring someone to perform an illegal activity as a condition of receiving assets

Setting aside money for a certain purpose, however, is customary. If you want to leave assets to your niece if she uses the money to attend college, for example, that is an enforceable condition.

The conditions may be costly

Something to keep in mind when putting conditions on inheritances is that someone will have to enforce the conditions. That may be a responsibility that your family members do not want. You may be able to point a legal executor as an enforcer if you wish, but it is likely that they will want a fee to perform the service.

Additionally, you may want to think about how long the conditions last. How long would you give your niece to graduate college, for example, and what happens to the money if she does not?

Conditions are a useful tool when it comes to drafting a will if done properly.