If my dad wants to give me 50% of the money that he inherits from my grandma, is it possible to get such an intention in writing so that it would be legally binding?

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If my dad wants to give me 50% of the money that he inherits from my grandma, is it possible to get such an intention in writing so that it would be legally binding?

My uncle was the one that brought my grandma into the office to have her Will drawn up a few years ago. She will disburse her assets amongst her children into equal thirds to my uncle, aunt, and my father. My dad has remarried, and so, as an insurance to me, wants to gift me with half of his interest in grandma’s estate as soon as it becomes available to him. The What form/contract or other type of insurance exists that guarantees me of having his intention fulfilled with as few as possible complications and being legally iron-clad?

Asked on May 30, 2019 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You cannot create an ironclad "contract" for him to give you a gift. A contract requires that each side get "consideration" or something of value in exchange for their contractual obligation(s). If only one person gets something of value--e.g. he gives you half his inheritance; you give him nothing--he is not receiving any consideration and so no contract is formed. You'd have to give him something of value in exchange for the inheritance: e.g. some items or property or vehicle you own; if he owes you something, a statement giving up that debt; the right to live with you or otherwise use property you own; etc. If you do give him something, you can draw up a contract that in exchange for you giving him X, he will give you half his interest in your grandmother's estate and will execute any papers needed to effectuate the transfer to you. And then make sure to follow up when the time is right, and to actually have him transfer the assets to you (e.g. quitclaim half his interest in any real estate he inherits to you). The contract is enforceable, but you will still need him to do things to put assets in your name or transfer them to your ownership (e.g. transfer money inherited to your bank account).
But a contract is only enforceable while a person is alive: say that he dies after your grandmother, but before he can actually transfer any items, interests, etc. to you. (For example: while her estate is still being probated, and so before his inheritance actually becomes his, but rather while it is still part of her estate.) Once he dies, the only thing that controls what happens to anything he owns or has a right to inherit is a will. Therefore, he should also create a will leaving you whatever he wants to leave you.


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