Can time of distribution be specified in a Will?

My mother is 88 and in good health. I am the executor of her Will which leaves everything to her 4 surviving children in equal parts. Her son has terminal cancer. Can she specify in her will that distributions be made only after a certain period of time, say 1 or 2 years longer? My concern is that should my mom precede my brother in death, and the funds be distributed, and then my brother were to pass shortly thereafter, all his money would go to his new wife who is not on good terms with any of us.

Asked on September 1, 2018 under Estate Planning, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

So what you need to do is speak with the lawyer that drafted the Will and ask how the terms of the Will deal with it.  Washington state has what is called an anit-lapse statute, meaning that if the gift "lapses" becuase the beneficiary pre-deceased the testator, the inheritance falls to the residuary clause ("All the rest, residue and remainder....").  If no residuary clause it passes via the intestacy statute.  Truly this is your Mother's decision to make and she should discuss it now with her attorney.  Perhaps whe sould like to give some of your brother's inheritance to him now to enjoy while he is alive.  Good luck.

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