Richmond, VA asked in Estate Planning for Virginia

Q: My ex-husband left the majority of his money to our son in a trust. He also left $80,000 to two charities but did not

have the funds to cover same. Must the money for these charitable bequests be taken from my son's trust?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Your question does not provide enough information for anyone to provide an answer. For example, we do not know if your husband is still alive or deceased. Either way, however, we also cannot see the precise language by which those bequests were made. The precise wording matters. For example, if he left $80,000 to two charities and the remainder to the trust for your son then, yes, the charities do need to be paid first. But it might not say that. The only way to know for sure is to take the trust or will or both to an attorney for advise on how to interpret them.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: You need to review these matters with a lawyer. If the trust is a pourover trust which was funded from the estate, you get a different answer than if it was a funded inter vivos trust. It's also different depending on the source of the charitable funds. A review of the will, the trust, and the facts will quickly lead to an answer, and it is likely the answer will be crystal clear if those documents were prepared correctly.

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