A will is an effective legal document, which can help to safeguard those people and organisations that you wish to support. By making a will, you ensure that your lifetime’s wealth continues to provide for others.
When you decide to make a will you should consult a solicitor, who will provide you with professional help to ensure that your plans maximise the amount your beneficiaries receive. It is important that you keep your will updated to take account of changing circumstances.
There are four main types of legacy gift you can make in your will:
Pecuniary: A gift of a specific sum of money.
Such a gift decreases in value with inflation from the time the will is written. This can be avoided by linking it to the Retail Prices Index or setting aside a percentage of your estate (see Residuary Legacy).
Specific: A gift of a specific property or asset.
Examples include: property, stocks and shares, paintings or other valuables.
Residuary: A gift of the residue of your estate or a share of it.
Once you have made your pecuniary and specific gifts you will be left with the residue of your estate. You may give the whole of the residue to a particular person or organisation, or you may divide it between several beneficiaries. The advantage of this type of legacy is that it will not be eroded by inflation.
Reversionary: The giving of assets to a chosen beneficiary, whilst giving a named person the benefit of them during her or his lifetime.
For example, this type of gift could enable a spouse to continue living in a house which you own until he or she dies, with the capital then passing to the University.
Click here for suggested wordings for legacies.