94 Cents Sends A Message

Living Trusts and Wills provide methods to share feelings about those in your life.  For some, the message is not always positive.  A few examples illustrate the messaging flexibility in estate plans.  First is the category of “silence speaks volumes”.  A Living Trust or Will may make absolutely no mention of someone who believed that inclusion in the estate would be a given.  That person is left to wonder, perhaps for all their remaining time, if there had been some mistake or oversight.  Second is express disinheritance.  The Living Trust or Will can name someone and then explicitly state that the person is disinherited and shall receive nothing under any circumstances.  Third is the nominal gift or bequest.  Most clients using this technique want to leave $1 as inheritance.  The message is clear: I know you are there and $1 states your value to me.  No further explanation.  Ouch.

Then there is 94 cents.  A client determined that 94 cents provides the maximum number of coins to be left to someone and this client felt that coins were worthless.  The client worried that if $1 were left, it could be used to buy a lottery ticket – and the ticket could be a winner.  Or, the $1 could be a tip for a barista in a coffee shop with the coffee shop folks then believing that the tipper was a stand-up guy.  Or, the $1 could be carried around as a prop in a story to explain the miserly or petty nature of the deceased.  The $1 could not be used against the deceased – 94 cents it is!

I recommend stripping away the vitriol and use gifts in a manner to encourage positive behavior.  Leave grievances behind.  But, if you are compelled to leave 94 cents to that someone so very special, I can assist.  If you have not done so, contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law for all your estate planning needs.

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