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A power to appoint an inheritance

A common concern of many Florida residents is the manner in which their estate will be distributed after their death. Leaving an inheritance by will to children or other family members might not be a guarantee that the money or property goes where the testator intended for it to go.

Distribution of property or money to family members in a will is usually carried out as designated by the testator. For example, a provision in a will leaving the entire estate to the maker's three children would normally result in one-third of the estate going to each child. Once the estate is distributed, however, each of the children is free to make whatever provision he or she wishes concerning what happens to the inheritance.

If one of the children dies ahead of the testator, the language of the inheritance could result in the deceased child's share of the estate going to the surviving children or to anyone else designated in the will by the testator. A power to appoint granted by the testator to the deceased child could result in the inheritance going to someone designated by the child.

The deceased child could exercise the power to appoint by making reference to it in his or her trust or will and naming the person to receive the inheritance. The proper way to exercise a power to appoint is a complex area of inheritance law that must follow certain legal formalities. Consulting with an estate planning attorney when granting a power to appoint or exercising it might be the safest way to protect inheritances and inheritance rights. It will also ensure that the wishes of a decedent are followed.

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