What kind of gifts can I leave in my Will?
Posted on 4th February 2020
When our team of probate solicitors are dealing with an estate, (and, indeed, with every other matter our team of solicitors in Preston and Lancaster deal with) we always aim to use clear, plain English, to make sure that our clients are always aware of what’s going on with their matter.
Sadly, the language used in Wills doesn’t always fall in line with our modern approach. So, to help you understand what kind of gift you’ve been left, or you’ve decided to leave to your loved ones, our team of Wills solicitors have put together a helpful list of the terms that our team will use:-
A specific legacy
A specific legacy is when you leave a gift or item to someone, for example, if you give your friend a gift of “my Pandora bracelet”. With these gifts, if you no longer have the item when you die, say if you lose it, this gift will simply fail.
A general legacy
A general legacy is when you leave a gift or item that you, maybe, don’t actually own. For example, if you want to leave your child 1,000 shares in X company, and you don’t own these at your death, your Executor will need to use money from your estate to satisfy the gift.
A Pecuniary Legacy
A pecuniary legacy is when you leave a specific gift of money to your chosen beneficiary. This will be paid out from your general Estate.
A Demonstrative Legacy
A demonstrative legacy is when you leave a specific sum of money to be paid from a specific account. For example, you may include in your Will “I give the sum of £20,000.00 to be paid from my HSBC bank account”.
A residuary gift
Following any legacy payments, payment of any debts, inheritance tax, administrative expenses, the executor will be left with the Residuary Estate. This could be referred to as a residuary gift. You may decide to leave your residuary estate to your closest loved one, a group of loved ones, or charities.
A contingent gift
If your first residuary gift fails, say your first-choice beneficiary dies before you, you can stipulate who should be your replacement beneficiary. This is known as a contingent gift. It’s known as contingent as the gift will only take effect if something else happens (i.e. the first gift fails).
It’s important to understand what type of gift can be made under your Will, as it could affect how you choose to divide your estate. Our team of Wills solicitors would suggest arranging an appointment to discuss your Will requirements before making any final decisions; you can fill out our Will Form, here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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