Split Property Interests

The right to use property that you transfer by your will can be split between different people, based on the passage of time. One person (or group of people) can be given ownership of, or the right to use the property, while another person (or group of people) can be given the right to use the property at some future date. A person having the current use is said to have a "present" interest, while the second person is said to have a "future interest."

Within the context of split interests in property, there are two main types of present interests:

There are two main types of future interests that are relevant to our discussion here:

Uses of split-interest bequests: Although split interest bequests can still be made by a will, it's often advantageous to have such interests structured within a trust arrangement. Doing so will normally reduce estate settlement costs, since a long-term continuing involvement of a probate court can be avoided.


The above discussion of split interests bequests is meant to show, in broad terms, the possible uses of split interest bequests. However, because a detailed discussion of this subject is beyond our scope here, and because the rules that apply to such interests vary from state to state, it is strongly advised that you consult an attorney if you want to use a split-interest bequest.