Recent media reports state that Dean Smith,
coach of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball
team, left a gift of $200 to each former letterman player that he
coached. One of the players posted a copy of the letter
and cheque on Twitter and it went viral.
Occasionally our clients wish to do something similar, for
example business owners wanting to leave gifts to employees of
their company. Such gifts tend to leave a
significant emotional impact regardless of their amount, in
part because they are usually unexpected.
Here are a few comments and suggestions for BC
residents thinking about implementing a group gift in
their estate plan:
Take care to clearly define the group of recipients. Coach
Smith specified that his bequest was to each varsity basketball
letterman he coached. If a gift is made to employees as a group, it
should specify for example whether it is employees at the time
of death only or at some other date, and whether it is all
employees, or some subset (e.g. full-time).
Making the gift in a will means that on death, all recipients
will need to be given formal notice of the application for
administration and a copy of the will which you may prefer to keep
more private. This adds a significant administrative burden. Also,
if the will is challenged for any reason, including a wills
variation claim by a spouse or child, the beneficiaries may have to
wait a very long time to receive their gifts.
One way to avoid the above hassles involved with making a group
gift in a will is to instead leave the total amount
of the gift to a trusted individual and give that individual
written wishes to in turn make the gifts to group members. However,
you have to understand and accept that this is not a binding legal
Another option is to cause the gift to be paid
from an inter vivos trust that you create during
your lifetime, or from the proceeds of a life insurance policy.
These vehicles can be kept more private and do not require the same
level of disclosure that a will does.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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On March 31, 2014, BC's new Wills, Estates and Succession Act1 ("WESA") will come into force. WESA introduces new protections for beneficiaries of estates that are in danger of being disputed or deemed ineffective by a court.
It is not uncommon for parents to provide monetary gifts to their adult children. Parents may wish to help their child with a down payment on a property, or help pay out their child's existing mortgage.
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