What are the laws regarding estate planning and how do I make my will legally binding? 12 Answers as of July 19, 2011

I would like to leave a house to my son in my will, however upon his death I do not want his girlfriend to inherit it. I would like his daughter to inherit it. Is it possible to put this in my will and will it be legally binding?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Yes, it can be done withwhat's known as a "Life Estate" whichyou would give to him for the term of his lifetime and, then, upon his death, it would go to your granddaughter - just as you wish. Speak to an experiencedestate attorney aboutsetting up a Will that will do just that for you. It's a pretty normal Will, but it will take a little more work to do than a normal Will, but it's worth it if you get to do what you want with your home. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/19/2011
McCleary & Associates, PC
McCleary & Associates, PC | David M. McCleary
Not in a will but there are trusts that can accomplish your goal Listen to my Card - Click Here David M. McCleary Attorney at Law Waterford, MI 248.674.1716 "The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of your friends, family and business associates. Thank you for your trust."
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/18/2011
Law Offices of William J. Hagan
Law Offices of William J. Hagan | William J. Hagan
By executing a will in proper legal form, you can make a wide variety of gifts with conditions attached to them. In Connecticut, your will must be in writing, and your signature on the will witnessed by two witnesses who will sign an affidavit at that time swearing to the fact that they witnessed your signature, so that the Probate Court can admit your will to probate. You can make an outright gift to your son, and provide in your will that he must survive you for the gift to be effective. In so doing, if he dies before you, you can direct that the gift of the house should instead go to another person, in this case his daughter. If you make an outright gift to your son, however, he would have the power to transfer it to anyone chooses during his lifetime. You can also give him the house for use during his lifetime, and provide that upon his death, it becomes the property of his daughter.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/18/2011
Donaldson Stewart, PC
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
A validly executed will (or Trust) is legally binding. If your son inherits your house through your will after you pass, then upon his death the house would pass through his own estate (e.g. to whomever he leaves it to in his own will). If your son passes before you, then your own estate plan would determine who is "next in line" to receive it. If you want to have some control over the way your property passes after your death and avoid the involvement of the probate court in the process, you might want to consider whether a Living Trust is appropriate for your situation. If you create a trust and transfer your house to that trust, you could (for example) create a provision that upon your death, your son may have use of the property for the remainder of his life (and even the ability to sell it if that's what you want), but that upon his death, the house passes to the next beneficiary YOU named (not to his own beneficiary). I recommend you speak with an attorney who can discuss your options with you in greater detail.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 7/18/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
You should consult an estate planning attorney familiar with Indiana Code title 29. What you intend to do, as described, is possible with the proper planning.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/18/2011
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    Whomever you leave your property to in your Will receives it outright. You have no control over it from "the grave". So, if you leave the house to your son in your Will, it will be his to do whatever he wants with. Having a revocable living trust may allow you to have a little more control if you want to state he has the right to live in the house for his life, and then the house goes to someone else at his death. But, in either case, if the house is left to him outright, it is his to do with however he sees fit.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of B. Keith Martin
    Law Office of B. Keith Martin | B. Keith Martin
    Yes you should make the gift ".to my son __ for life, remainder to his daughter
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/16/2011
    Majors Law Firm, P.C.
    Majors Law Firm, P.C. | M. Jason Majors
    You would need to include provisions in your Will that the property will be held in trust for the benefit of your son during his lifetime, and when he passes away, that the house is to be distributed to his daughter. The only other option would be for you to leave a life estate to your son, with the remainder interest to his daughter. An estate planning attorney should be able to assist you with drafting a Will to carry out your goals.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 7/16/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Yes, as long as that is clear in the will. I would recommend you have an attorney do it to make sure the language is correct.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/16/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    In your will - you can leave your house to your son or, if he passes away before you, to his children. However, you probably would not be able to leave him the house and tell him he can't leave it to his girlfriend. You may be able to do that through a trust, however. For a will to be legally binding, it must be signed by you when you are not under any duress or impairment and there must be at least two witnesses who watch you sign it and who also sign the will stating they witnessed you signing (the two witnesses cannot be individuals you name in the will, however).
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You will want an experienced lawyer to draft the language, but there are ways to do exactly what you say. Through proper use of devices like life estates and trusts inside the will, this type thing can be done. This is not something to try on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/16/2011
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