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Specific Gifts Versus General Gifts

Let’s talk a little bit about the difference between general gifts and specific gifts. Then we’ll also talk about residue gifts or remainders

Basically speaking, a specific gift is when you are given the gift of a specific property.

Specific Gift

The most common specific gift is real property such as a house or piece of land. If you’re given a gift that is described by an address or real property, that is a specific gift. And you’re entitled to that specific asset and the trustee of the estate has to give you that asset, not another piece of property.

There are times when an asset may have to be sold to cover the expenses of the decedent, but that’s fairly rare. A specific gift can only be sold if there are no other assets available to satisfy creditors. Any time you can specifically identify something such as a specific piece of property, that is a specific gift.


General Gift

A general gift is a gift of money. A general gift is different from a specific gift because money is interchangeable. One $20.00 bill is no different from another $20.00 bill when it comes to gifts under a trust.

Specific gifts have to be given out first. The next in line are people who are getting general gifts, which are gifts of money. And then last in line are the residue beneficiaries.

Residue Beneficiaries

Those are the people who are going to get the remainder of the estate, the remainder after the specific gifts and general gifts are dispersed. Whatever is left over goes to those people. They’re the remainder beneficiaries.

That’s the difference between a specific gift, a general gift, which is generally money and a residue or remainder gift.