What types of gifts can I include in my Will?
We often get asked what types of gifts can be included in a Will. Gifts in a Will generally fall into four categories:-
- Gifts of personal belongings such as jewellery;
- Gifts of a fixed sum of money known as a pecuniary legacy;
- Gifts of a property or specific item known as a specific legacy;
- Gifts of a share or all of what is left known as a residuary gift.
A commonly held belief is that a letter or writing a person’s name is sufficient to legally pass an item on death but this is incorrect, and anything less than a Will has no legal effect at all and can sometimes be the worst of all worlds, raising expectations that cannot legally be fulfilled and creating the potential for family disputes.
A memorandum or letter of wishes clause in a Will can be a good way of dealing with personal belongings or chattels to give them their legal term. Such a letter is flexible but is not legally binding as nothing expressed as a wish in a Will is legally binding and you are trusting your executor to carry out your expressed wishes. Your letter of wishes which should be kept safely with your Will can be updated if your wishes change, without the expense or bother of having to change your actual Will.
Gifts in Wills are often made for the following purposes:-
- To provide for family and friends;
- To pass on family heirlooms to particular people;
- To give something for someone to remember you by or to recognise someone who means something to you;
- To provide for the care of your pets;
- To help prevent a claim being made by someone against your estate;
- To make a gift to a particular organisation or charity. Gifts to most registered UK charities and some other organisations can be free of a charge to inheritance tax.
If you wish to discuss having a Will prepared and other aspects which need to be considered, please contact the Private Client team at Anthony Gold Solicitors (020 7940 4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org).