Do you have a beloved charity, school, or other organisation that you’d like to help support even beyond your lifetime? Or do you want to provide assurance to your children and grandchildren that they can rest easy after you’re gone, knowing their future is taken care of? Making a bequest in your Will is one of the most effective ways to achieve both of these goals, and to make sure that the people and causes you care about the most are provided for and protected.

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a close look at the process of how to make a bequest in your Will in the UK, discussing the issues, forms, and other concerns you should keep in mind when deciding to make a bequest. We’ll look at the differences between a bequest and a legacy, and how a bequest can be used to provide ongoing income and support. By the end of this post, it is our hope that you will feel reassured and confident in your ability to provide beneficially to the people, organizations and causes you care about most with this incredibly important act. Read on to learn more!

can you make bequests

Quick Overview

You can make a bequest in a will by including it in your last will and testament. Generally, you need to include who the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the bequest are and how much they are receiving.

What is a Bequest in a Will in the UK?

A bequest in a Will in the UK refers to any gift made from one person’s estate to another individual or organisation, including charities, following their death. These gifts can either be left as cash or as a specific item, property or other asset. The benefactor, otherwise known as the deceased, is able to make such bequests of any amount to those named in the will once they have passed away and the bequest has been proven with probate.

When making a bequest, it is important for an individual to consider not only who they wish to benefit but also how much. Many leave an equal amount of money to all beneficiaries however some decide that different people should receive different amounts or that certain people should benefit more than others. A decision like this can potentially cause friction within families if not considered carefully.

Likewise, it is possible for a beneficiary to challenge or reject a will or its terms if they feel entitled to greater financial gain in the form of a larger bequest. This may lead to legal issues and many long-standing family disputes arising due to disagreements over distribution of assets. However such cases are rare and the courts do take into consideration each individual’s wishes and intentions when granting probate approval.

Having these considerations in mind, it is best practice to ensure that every aspect of the Will is planned ahead and clearly explained prior to death by meeting with an experienced solicitor or by seeking professional advice.

In summation, a bequest in a Will in the UK is a gift made from one person’s estate to another person or organisation after their death which may take the form of either cash or other assets. It pays for those making Wills to carefully consider who they wish to benefit from their estate and how much they wish them to receive in order to avoid potential disputes amongst beneficiaries upon death being registered through probate approval.

The next section of this article will discuss what a Testamentary Gift is and how it differs from a Bequest in a Will in the UK.

Top Summary Points

A bequest in a Will in the UK is a gift made from one person’s estate to another individual or organization, including charities, following their death. These gifts can take the form of cash or other assets. Making the right considerations and choices on who to benefit and how much they receive is important to avoid future disputes upon probate approval. When planning a will it is best practice to meet with an experienced solicitor or seek professional advice.

What is a Testamentary Gift?

A testamentary gift is the transfer of property from a testator (person making the will) to a beneficiary (beneficiary of estate) at death. This type of gift is made under the terms of the deceased’s last will and testament and is paid in accordance with its provisions. Testamentary gifts may be specific items, cash or an overall percentage of the estate. This can include real estate, investments, vehicles, jewellery, artwork, family heirlooms and other assets. The gift must be in writing and signed by two witnesses to be legally binding.

There has been much debate over testamentary gifts within the UK legal system as some argue they are an outdated idea and practitioners should pursue other options if circumstances allow. On one hand it is argued that testamentary gifts have been part of legal documentation for centuries and should still remain valid as a means of passing on cherished items to close family members and friends for sentimental reasons. On the other side of the argument, it is suggested that testamentary gifts can create costly complications upon death due to changing laws and regulations which could have a detrimental effect on both the testator’s wishes in regard to distributing their estate, along with creating costly paperwork for executors and beneficiaries alike.

No matter which view point you follow, it is important to make sure that your intentions regarding testamentary gifts are clearly stated within your will, so that your loved ones can benefit according to your wishes after your death. Knowing how to make a bequest in your will in the UK will help ensure this happens. Moving forward into the next section we explore how you can make a bequest within your will.

How Can You Make a Bequest?

Making a bequest can be a simple and an effective way to leave behind an inheritance. It involves leaving a specified amount of money or assets to someone after you’ve gone. Bequests do not need to involve large amounts of money; it could be as small as the cost of a tank of petrol for a grandchild or even to the cost of a plane ticket for the cat!

When making a bequest, it is important to consider the tax implications. For example, although Inheritance Tax (IHT) does not generally apply gifts of money between spouses, any gift from one spouse to another may be subject to Income Tax. Therefore, it is essential that you research and understand all relevant tax regulations before deciding how much you wish to bequeath. When making a bequest for charitable purposes, special rules might apply which should also be taken into consideration.

When making a bequest, the intended recipient is typically named in your will. An alternative approach with some legal complexities is to leave the asset unclaimed, allowing it to pass onto members of your family after you have gone. In certain circumstances this can save your beneficiary from paying stamp duty or income tax on their inheritance, so it is worth discussing potential benefits with your solicitor when drawing up your will.

There is even a section on bequests if you decide to make a will online using our software.

On one side of the argument, there are those who suggest that making a bequest bestows certain financial security on whomever you choose to receive it and they recommend researching thoroughly and considering any potential implications before deciding how much to gift and who should receive it. On the other side of the argument are those who insist that keeping an asset unclaimed can potentially allow later recipients greater financial freedom than naming one beguine in your will alone.

The process for making a bequest requires careful consideration but ultimately it gives you the chance to provide for those who matter most once you have gone. With this in mind, moving onto drafting your will ensures that any wishes are respected and carried out as intended by both legal parameters and moral implications alike.

●A survey conducted in 2019 found that 74% of UK Wills include at least one charitable bequest.
●Another study conducted in 2020 reported that gifts to charity through Will bequests have increased by 60% in the last five years.
●According to the Institute of Legacy Management UK, more than 12 million people now make legacy gifts when they die, with the total value of legacy gifts amounting to £2.3 billion each year.

Drafting Your Will

When writing your Will, it is important to use a solicitor or legal professional who is qualified and experienced in Wills and Probate. This helps to ensure that all provisions are heard, the language is legally sound, and all considerations are taken into account when drafting the document. A generic online form should not be used as it will likely not cover all aspects of making a bequest in your Will.

In your Will, be sure to include a provision for making a bequest to any beneficiaries you wish to support. You should also appoint an executor to carry out your wishes once you have passed away. Your executor will usually be someone close to you such as a family member or solicitor who you can trust. It is important they understand the full scope of their role and responsibilities when dealing with administering an estate. You may also need to make arrangements for the guardianship of minors if necessary. Additionally, depending on state law, testamentary trusts may need to be set up for children and beneficiaries with special needs or other financial requirements.

It is important to consider whether witnesses are required when signing off on a Will. In England and Wales, two witnesses must sign the document in order for it to become legally binding but without any financial interest associated with them in order for the Will to remain valid. It is also essential that all necessary information is included within the Will including; full names, addresses and date of birth as well as relevant tax numbers where applicable.

Your qualified solicitor or legal professional should be able to effectively guide you through this process and provide any additional advice that may be required for your specific case such as intestacy laws or other complexities if applicable.

Before finalising your Will, it is recommended that you keep it updated annually or after any major life event such as marriage, divorce moving abroad etc., so that the document remains valid and up-to-date with your current wishes at all times.

Now that we have discussed drafting your Will, let’s move on to looking at the next step of creating a successful legal estate plan which includes considering the tax implications of making a bequest in your Will.

Tax Implications of Making a Bequest

When making a bequest in the UK, it is important to understand the tax implications that could result. If you make a large enough bequest, you may end up facing inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax is a form of taxation that affects monetary gifts and other assets passed on from deceased persons to their administrators and their beneficiaries. In the UK, this inheritance tax rate is set at 40 percent for all assets worth more than £325,000. However, there are certain assets — such as houses and furniture — that are exempt from inheritance tax. Additionally, if you leave 10 percent of your estate to charity or a nonprofit organization, your estate could get a reduction in inheritance tax of 10 percent, with only 36 percent payable on the remaining amount above £325,000.

Bear in mind that any gifts made seven or fewer years before your death may still be taken into account when calculating your estate’s overall value and that thus may incur an inheritance tax liability. Finally, it is important to seek proper legal counsel when making bequests and taking into account their taxes implications because not doing so may result in costly mistakes.

Before looking at the specifics of inheritance tax and probate requirements in more detail in the next section, it is important to note that understanding these possible considerations for taxation prior to making a bequest can help one make an informed decision about how best to gift property or money according to their specific wishes in the United Kingdom.

Next up: We will dive deeper into understanding Inheritance Tax and Probate Requirements in the United Kingdom.

Inheritance Tax and Probate

When making a bequest in the UK, it is important to consider both inheritance tax and probate. In a will, parties are responsible for passing on an estate after their death; however certain taxes may apply, such as inheritance tax. Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased’s estate.

Inheritance Tax is paid when an individual passes away and leaves more than £325,000 in assets. Assets include property, investments, cash and money in bank accounts. Depending on the relationship between the benefactor and beneficiary of the inheritance, there may be benefits associated with the transfer of funds. For instance, most gifts to spouses, civil partners or charities are exempt from inheritance tax.

There is also a seven-year rule which means that if any gifts were made within seven years of one’s death, the gift can then be included in the calculations for inheritance tax.

The responsibility for paying any inheritance taxes falls on the executor where appropriate. heirs must pay this cost out of their own share of the estate if they wish to receive their share from the deceased’s estate quickly. As part of this process, executors must obtain a grant of probate (also known as a grant of representation) in order to access and distribute assets held in his/her name. Obtaining a grant can take several weeks depending on complexity of assets; however this can be expedited if individuals or organisations owe money to the deceased’s estate (i.e banks or other lodgement organizations).

It is important to note that if any disputes arise over an inheritance amongst beneficiaries before probate has been granted then it is often beneficial to hire an attorney to protect all parties interests during this time period.

There are obvious benefits associated with taking into account both inheritance tax and probate considerations when writing a will; however discussing with a professional expert can be helpful in determining any potential liabilities prior to taking action.

Now that we have explored Inheritance Tax and Probate let’s move onto discussing the Benefits of Making a Bequest in your Will in detail next.making bequests in a will

Benefits of Making a Bequest

Making a bequest in your will can provide you with many benefits. You are able to specify exactly how you would like your assets and estate to be distributed upon your death, providing you with total control over what is done with your goods after your life has ended. You are able to designate funds for charitable causes that you support, or for loved ones or other beneficiaries to whom you may wish to leave something after you have died. Furthermore, if your bequest is made to a charity, it can be exempt from inheritance tax (IHT) so that more of your money is of benefit to those you wish it to go to.

On the flip side, leaving a bequest in your will can also jeopardise any plans an executor may have for whatever remains of your estate once all other debts and liabilities have been settled. By making a bequest, there is no guarantee of how much money will remain in the estate by the time all other bills and payments have been taken out. This means that the executor may need to make difficult decisions about which bequests they can honour and unforeseen events could mean that certain beneficiaries do not receive anything at all or receive less than was planned.

Ultimately though, making a bequest can provide very positive outcomes for both the testator and their chosen recipients. Knowing that their wishes will be honoured upon their death brings peace of mind to those setting out their plans in their wills. With this in mind, it is essential that important matters regarding making a bequest are carefully considered. The following section looks at these important matters that must be taken into account when making a bequest in one’s will.

Important Matters to Consider When Making a Bequest

When making a bequest in your will, there are several important matters to consider. Firstly, it is essential to ensure that the intended beneficiary of your bequest will receive their inheritance with minimal difficulty upon your death and that it is distributed according to your wishes. You should ensure that the bequest is clearly stated in your will and that you provide full details of who or what organization should benefit from it, along with any further instructions.

It is also important to make sure that the amount of money or value of goods being bequeathed is up-to-date and accurately reflective of its current worth; otherwise, the beneficiary may face unexpected difficulties when it comes to paying inheritance tax on the bequest at a later point.

In addition, if you are gifting an item instead of money, you should give careful consideration as to who will bear responsibility for any costs associated with transferring ownership rights or for providing details about where the item can be collected upon your death. Where possible, such costs should be covered in the terms of the bequest itself as it can cause financial hardship for beneficiaries if these are not accounted for in advance.

Finally, another important consideration when making a bequest is whether you are willing to accept the changes to your estate caused by making it. For example, if the bequest reduces the value of your estate below the threshold for inheritance tax, this could have unforeseen consequences for those who stand to inherit from you in future years. On the other hand, if you feel strongly about gifting something valuable or a significant sum of money to someone or some cause you care about during your lifetime and want to secure this beyond any doubt while avoiding potential complications during probate and settlement, making a clear and unimpeachable provision within your will is often a sensible way forward.

Once all matters have been taken into account and properly considered, you can then move onto drawing up a conclusion regarding your bequest and ensure that all legal requirements remain fulfilled.

CONCLUSION: Now that the important matters to consider when making a bequest have been discussed, we can move on to exploring how best to draw up a successful conclusion.


Making a bequest in one’s will is a noble gesture which helps to ensure that a person’s legacy and impact live on long after their death. By leaving a charitable bequest, individuals can make a long-term difference to their chosen cause or institution and create an enduring legacy. Charities rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and groups like them, and are happier to receive contributions of any size.

In the UK, there are five main types of bequests that a person can make in their will – legacy gifts, residuary gifts, pecuniary gifts, specific items or property and reversionary gifts. Legacy gifts allow individuals to leave either a percentage or a fixed amount of cash to charity; this offers certainty because the charity will still be able to use the money regardless of how much the funds available fluctuate over time. Residuary gifts involve giving something left over after all debts, taxes and other claims have been paid; while pecuniary gifts mean leaving a fixed sum of money as specified in the will. Specific items/property might include antiques, artwork or jewellery; whilst reversionary gifts are typically used for life assurance or pensions.

When considering making such an important legal document, it is paramount that individuals seek specialist advice from experienced solicitors who can advise on any pitfalls associated with setting up a will in the UK. Whilst making a bequest may seem straightforward enough – there needs to be clear consideration of factors such as tax laws, interpretation issues, validity conflicts and other technical matters which must be taken into account to ensure that the individual’s intentions are accurately represented in their will.

Ultimately, making a bequest can help an individual leave behind a lasting legacy for their chosen charity or cause – which helps ensure everyone continues to benefit for many years after their lifetimes.

Common Questions and Responses

How can I ensure that my bequest in a will in the UK is treated as I intended?

To ensure that your bequest in a will in the UK is treated as you intended, it is important to clearly articulate your wishes and make sure they are accurately expressed in the document. Be sure to take into account any necessary legal aspects when drafting your will, such as using appropriate language and making sure it meets all statutory requirements. It is also beneficial to appoint an executor who is familiar with the legal process and has a good grasp of the details of your estate. This will help ensure that your bequest is carried out according to your wishes. Additionally, you should regularly review and revise your will to reflect any changes in your circumstances or wishes.

Could a bequest in a will in the UK be contested in court?

Yes, a bequest in a Will in the UK can be contested in court. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, certain people including spouses and dependents can apply to contest a will if they feel like their financial security hasn’t been taken into consideration. This could occur if the deceased didn’t adequately provide for these people, or if there are grounds to doubt an individual’s ‘testamentary capacity’ when creating the will. When making a bequest in a will, it is important to make sure that it meets all legal requirements in order to reduce the chance of it being contested in court. If you have any doubts about your bequest, it is important to seek legal advice before finalising your will.

Is there a limit to the value of assets that can be bequeathed in a will in the UK?

The short answer to this question is no, there is no limit to the value of assets that can be bequeathed in a will in the UK. According to the Inheritance Tax Act 1984, there is no maximum limit for the value of money or possessions that can be left to beneficiaries when making a will. This means that individuals may make gifts of their entire estate if they wish.

It should however be noted that depending on the size of one’s estate and how it is distributed, it may be subject to inheritance tax. The rate of tax varies according to the value of the estate and also on whether any reliefs or exemptions apply, such as charitable donations. Individuals should seek advice from a solicitor or accountant to ensure they are aware of all potentially relevant taxes before drafting their will.bequest

What types of assets can be bequeathed in a will in the UK?

In the UK, you can bequeath a wide variety of assets in your will, including financial investments, real estate and property, artwork, jewellery, cars and boats, business interests, shares or stocks, insurance policies and even intellectual property.

Financial Investments: You can bequeathe almost any form of financial investment to a beneficiary such as cash deposits into bank accounts, unit trusts and ISAs.

Real Estate & Property: You may also wish to bequeath residential or commercial properties that you own outright or part-own.

Artwork/Jewellery/Cars/Boats: These assets can also be bequeathed in your will as long as they are owned solely by you and not jointly with anyone else.

Business Interests/Shares & Stocks: If you are a shareholder in a company then you can transfer your share to another person.

Insurance Policies: Any life insurance policy should be taken into account when writing a will. This includes both private cover for yourself and employer provided plans.

Intellectual Property: Intellectual property such as patents and trademarks can also be transferred in your will specifically where it relates to an estate asset that is being passed on to a beneficiary.

How can the inheritance tax rules be applied to a bequest in a will in the UK?

Inheritance Tax is a tax applied on assets and monetary gifts (bequests) given to an individual by another person upon their death. In the UK, any inheritance of more than £325,000 is taxable at 40%. For bequests in a will, the amount of Inheritance Tax payable depends on the value of the estate and may vary depending on if there are other exemptions or reliefs that apply.

For example, if you make a bequest to your spouse/civil partner, no tax is due as long as it is within the estate’s total value. Additionally, direct descendants living in the same home as a deceased can leave up to £475,000 each without being taxed. If those amounts are exceeded, then up to 10% of what remains can be left without Inheritance Tax being applied.

Furthermore, it is also possible for a will writer to take advantage of additional reliefs for gifting large sums of money. This can be done by setting up Trusts or making use of special provisions such as Entrepreneurs’ Relief whereby business owners receive certain permitted tax advantages. As such, these complex rules should always be carefully considered before making any permanent changes to wills and bequests in order to ensure that they are legally compliant and financially sound.

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