Your questions about Wills answered
We've answered all of your questions to make it as simple as possible for you to leave a gift in your Will today.
We understand that leaving a gift to charity can leave you with many questions. That’s why our team have answered as many of your questions as possible to help ensure everything goes smoothly.
A list of Will-making legal terms
- Beneficiary – Any person who benefits under a Will.
- Codicil – A formal amendment to a Will.
- Estate – Everything you own at the time of your death.
- Executor – The person you appoint to carry out the instructions in your will. Executors are usually family, friends or professional advisors (solicitor/bank manager/accountant).
- Legacy/bequest – Gift of personal or moveable property (including cash, shares, etc.) left in a Will.
- Legatee – The beneficiary of a legacy.
- Pecuniary legacy – Making a gift of a fixed sum of money. You can link your legacy to the Retail Price Index to ensure that the value of the gift you make today is worth the same in the future. This will prevent your gift from decreasing in value over time.
- Probate – The application to court after someone dies to prove the Will is valid. This results in authority being granted to the executors via a Grant of Probate after any tax due is paid.
- Residuary estate – Everything you own at the time of your death, minus any legacies you have made, your debts, funeral expenses, and costs of winding up your estate.
- Residuary legacy – Leaving a share of your estate. This is stated as all or as a percentage (%) of your remaining estate once all fees, outstanding costs and other gifts have been taken care of. Even a small percentage of your estate, after providing for family and loved ones, can make a real difference.
- Reversionary legacy – This gift allows you to leave your estate, or part of it, on trust for the benefit of a particular person during their lifetime. They benefit from using the assets, or receiving the income from them, during their life. Upon their death, the assets pass to other chosen beneficiaries (called ‘reversionary beneficiaries’) such as Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Charity.
- Specific legacy – You can leave specific assets such as property, stocks and shares or other valuables if you wish.
- Inheritance Tax – This tax is generally levied on an estate when somebody dies if it is valued over a certain amount. Contact us for more information about inheritance tax.
- Intestacy – This is when someone dies without leaving a legally valid will. In these circumstances, the rules of Intestacy apply, and these determine who will administer and who will benefit from the deceased’s estate. Further information on the rules of Intestacy can found on the HMRC website.
- Testator (male) / Testatrix (female) – The person making a Will.
- Will – A document conforming to legal requirements that sets out what you want to happen to your property and the rest of your estate on your death.
- Witness – You must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses who must then sign the will after you. The witness must not be anyone that is named as a beneficiary of the Will.
Important Legal information and Clauses
Innovating Caring Responding Advancing Supporting Pioneering Listening Revitalising Evolving Comforting Connecting Uplifting