You may have seen a recent news article about the Will of Dennis Valstad, a man from Ripon, Wisconsin, who specifically bequeathed the sum of $500,000, in equal shares, to those individuals who attended his funeral. To that end, the envelope containing Dennis’ Last Will and Testament instructed: “Do not open until after the funeral”. Dennis, who had living siblings but no spouse or children, left additional instructions that, if an attendee felt they did not need the money (roughly $1,800.00 per person), they should donate it to charity.
Dennis’ nontraditional bequest might not be something that you would include in your own Will or Revocable Trust, but it goes to show that your estate plan can truly be anything you want it to be (within the confines of the law, of course). While most individuals generally want to leave the majority of their estate to their children or close family members upon their death, there is always opportunity to customize your estate plan to meet your individual goals and circumstances. Examples of this include adding specific bequests of liquid assets or tangible personal property to individuals or charities, establishing a trust for the care of your pet, or, like Dennis, distributing a portion of your estate among those who attend your funeral.
If you have questions on this topic, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.