A well-written will or trust should be clear and easy to understand. It specifies which assets go to which beneficiaries, and what happens when circumstances change. When a will or trust is unclear, the beneficiaries will start a court proceeding for construction or reformation, asking the court to interpret the will or trust.
What is an Ambiguity in a Will or Trust
Here are some examples of an ambiguity in a will or trust:
- The decedent left the house to “my sister” or “to John”
- The decedent left a bank account to “Christian Charities” without specifying a particular one
- The executor left a building to his son John but did not specify which building
- The executor named in the trust is no longer alive
Reformation If there is no way to determine the intent of the deceased, the court might insert its own words into the document. This process is called “reformation”.
Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233 to make an appointment to discuss your will or trust contest.