What happens when money from a will is not accepted? 28 Answers as of October 29, 2012

If I were to leave money in my will to start an ESL program at a private high school and the school does not wish to start such a program, what happens to the money?

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Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
It can go to someone else you designate but it sounds like you really need a Trust not just a Will alone as your estate may be subject to Probate Court in California. I highly suggest you seek legal advice to make sure you set it up as you wish and to protect you if that happens to make sure the money goes to someone else or gets managed and spent specifically as you desire.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/29/2012
Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
The money could be returned to your estate and a be distributed to an alternative beneficiary that you designate.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/28/2012
Richard M. Gee, a PC
Richard M. Gee, a PC | Richard M. Gee
That would be a disclaimer and would go back into the general estate to be divided among the beneficiaries.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/27/2012
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
When making a charitable gift, always give your personal representative discretion to make the gift to another organization. You can say something about your PR choosing another qualifying organization having goals and purposes most closely related to the organization you intend to benefit, or maybe another educational institution nearby which does have an ESL program. Of course, if your gift is going to be large enough, you can strong-arm the school a little: School gets $xxx,xxx if they start an ESL program within 2 years of my death; if they don't, it goes to some other organization or school. Also, give your PR discretion to negotiate with the school or charity in setting up the gift and its uses; this is more likely to make your gift useful to the organization. You tell your PR what you want, and when the time comes, your PR can do his or her best to make the gift work in a way that works for the organization, and carries out your wishes.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 10/26/2012
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, that is a specific bequest for a specific purpose. If the specific bequest for that purpose cannot be made, then it should be invalid and fall into your residuary estate, which is the "everything else" not specifically bequeathed.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/26/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    It would be included in the estate possibly as residual if there is no language indicating where you would wasn't the money to go if revised by a named devisee.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/26/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    It would depend on the terms of the will. An attorney can review it and let you know as it would be fact specific to the will and any default language in it.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/26/2012
    CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW
    CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW | Carl C Silver
    The high school will sign a Disclaimer which is filed in Probate Court. The money they do not want will go as directed in the will - usually per the residuary clause.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/26/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It is returned to the estate and distributed as if the provision was never there.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Dwight Edward Tompkins, Attorney at Law
    Dwight Edward Tompkins, Attorney at Law | Dwight Edward Tompkins
    The money would go to the residuary beneficiary named in the will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    If a bequest is disclaimed by the party to whom it has been given it will go to the named alternate beneficiary. If there is none, the gift would normally be added to the residue of the estate and distributed as set forth in the will. If you are contemplating such a gift, you should consult an estate planning attorney to insure that the Will provides alternatives in the event the gift is not accepted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    The money would go to the heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    Was the charitable money based solely on it being used for the building of a program? If so then the money can be withheld or returned to the estate. If it is not clear and the money was to be given to the charity for its charitable use then the charity may use the money as they wish.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If the school were to disclaim the money left to them for the ESL program, the money would then pass as if they didn't exist. In other words, your heirs would receive the money according to intestate succession pursuant to Florida Statutes. However, you can make provisions in your will if you feel that it is a possibility the school will disclaim the funds.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    It depends on what you put in your will. Probably it goes with the residue of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Brian M. Mekdsy Legal Services
    Brian M. Mekdsy Legal Services | Brian M. Mekdsy
    You could always include language in the will to provide for that possibility. Your will could leave a specified amount of money to the school in question to be used for the establishment of an ESL program, but if said school decides not to start such a program, then distribute the money to "fill in the blank." Perhaps there are other ESL programs in the area that could receive the money alternatively, or you could provide the executor with discretion to find an acceptable program to receive the money. But be sure to include language that any distribution to the school is contingent on the school agreeing to start an ESL program. On the other hand, you could create a charitable trust or a charitable foundation for the purpose of supporting ESL programs, and have the will distribute the money directly to the trust or foundation. In that case, the trustee or foundation director would be responsible for following the express terms of whatever entity you form.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It will revert to the decease's estate or trust and distributed in accord with the instructions, usually to the residuary.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Usually it gets divided among the other beneficiaries.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Then I would have a provision in my will to handle that possibility.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Troy & Rosenberg, PC | Cathryn Ruckle
    Generally if a devisee does not want an inheritance the asset would be declined by filing what is known as a disclaimer. If you think it is possible that the school would not want to take the money for the intended purpose, the best practice would be to name an alternate beneficiary. You can say "To school X for the purpose of setting up an ESL program, or if school X disclaims the bequest, then to"
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    Put language in your estate plan that if the private high school does not want to start an ESL program that the funds would revert to your will or trust.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Generally speaking the doctrine of cypress would apply unless you have named a residuary beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    TrustCounsel | Gregory Herman-Giddens
    Under the legal doctrine of "cy pres" the court will try to find another way to respect your wishes, as close to your original intent as possible. Your executor would need to initiate the court proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Since you have not prepared a will, you will want to designate successor charities to receive the money is refused by the designated receiver of your gift.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    You can identify what happens if the gift is not accepted. To another beneficiary, to the residuary and those beneficiaries, or to a charity or anything else you desire.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    You should make sure the school will honor your wishes before making the gift in the will. You should talk with your attorney about establishing a trust.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Normally, your Will would address this issue. It should provide for an alternate bequest, just in case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    You could provide in your will what happens to the money if the school doesn't want to accept it for that purposes.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/25/2012
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