What happens if the value of a gift changes between the will’s execution and probate?
Often times, a gift’s value will change between the time a will is created and executed and when it is probated and the gift is distributed. This is particularly true when a lot of time has passed between the will’s execution and probate. For example, suppose I drafted my will in my 20’s and included the gift of a rare rookie baseball card. If I die in my 80’s, that card may have lost value because of a steroids scandal involving that baseball player. Even though I thought I was leaving a more valuable gift then I ultimately ended up leaving, it does not matter - the beneficiary of that gift cannot generally try to claim additional property to get back to that original value.
This issue can often arise, and become very problematic, where a will includes a gift of stocks, which obviously change value on a daily basis and can change value in drastic amounts over an extended period of time. This issue is so common and troublesome that most states have passed laws specifically addressing the impact of including stocks in a will.