Leaving a Legacy in your Will

Friday 15th May 2015

Are there individual members of the family that you want to leave a gift to or maybe even a charity?

There are five main types of a legacy in a Will:

A specific legacy is a gift other than money that could include property you own, stocks and shares, life assurance proceeds, personal possessions also known as chattels including jewellery, furniture, books or cars, etc.

A pecuniary legacy is a specific gift of money such as £50,000.

A residuary legacy is a gift of what is left after all the debts, expenses, taxes and pecuniary or specific legacies have been distributed, a share or percentage of the gift is called a residuary gift.

A Charitable legacy is where a gift is left in a Will to one or more charities.

A generic specific legacy is a collection of something, e.g. "Poems" this is generic as it may increase or decrease in size.

Leaving a legacy in a Will to whoever, such as: personal belongings or a percentage of a life assurance fund in equal shares, or it could be a valued poem collection for a specific family member, is known as a specific generic legacy.

There are so many charities that a person can help with. Always remember a lot of charities depend on local people to help maintain the work in relation to their cause, this improves society and also the donations are very beneficial to a variety of charities.

One of the charities that we work alongside is a local organisation called BulliesOut. They have lots of workshops, of which can be read in further detail. "Innovative and Interactive workshops" (BulliesOut - No Date). For other information on this charity go to their site they are doing some fabulous work.

Calculating Assets
An interesting article I would like to share is: "How to leave a gift to charity" The website illustrates the perfect tool known as a gift calculator: "Before making a Will, it's a good idea to know the value of your estate. This easy-to-follow gift calculator will provide you with a good estimate." (Gift Calculator).

Failure of a Gift
It is possible a gift could fail for a number of reasons:

  • Uncertainty - gift or beneficiary is not adequately described to allow that item or person to be identified.
  • Death of legatee (beneficiary) in testator's lifetime - no beneficiary.
  • Ademption - item no longer exists as part of the estate on death.
  • Satisfaction - where the fulfilment of the gift in the Will is made by an inter vivos (during their lifetime) gift, to the beneficiary, with the intent that is in lieu of the gift in the Will.
  • Attestation of the Will by the legatee - beneficiary was a witness.
  • Disclaimer - a beneficiary does not have to accept the gift in a Will.
  • Divorce - a former spouse is treated as having died on the date of the decree absolute, so any gift to them within the Will shall fail.

Excluding Beneficiaries
It is increasingly more common for people preparing Wills to wish to exclude certain family members from the Will so that they do not benefit.

How we can make it easier for you!
Firstly, one needs to consult with a qualified person who is authorised to compile this type of legal document. Qwill Writing Services are available to assist you. You will be asked questions about the trusted people you know, your relationship with them, and their suitability in respect various criteria that will help making sure the correct people are appointed as executors.

The process will be carefully explained along with the legal implications and the cost of doing such work. If the go-ahead is given a document will be compiled and you will be consulted regarding all steps along the way. One the draft is approved, it will be legally executed.

Research from:
Remember a charity, (Year - NONE) Gift calculator: How much should I leave? [14.05.15] Available from - [Accessed: 14.05.15]

BulliesOut, (Year - NONE) Education - Awareness - Support. [14.05.15] Available from - [Accessed: 14.05.15]