What can I do in my Will?
Most people choose to keep their Will as simple as possible and so give all their estate as one lump, called the ‘residue of my estate’ or ‘residuary estate’, rather than try to break it down into individual amounts or items. However, you may, if you wish, give:
- property - either as an outright gift or to give someone just the use of it for a period, say, until they remarry, with the instructions that once they have remarried the house is to be sold and the proceeds shared among other members of your family nominated by you
- all your house contents (chattels) or individual items
- specific sums of cash, with or without an inflation adjustment
- specific investments, eg. shares, peps
- businesses, either an outright gift or the first option to buy it from your estate residue, for example, what’s left after all other gifts have been made and all your outstanding
liabilities have been settled (including your testamentary expenses, which are funeral costs, probate fees and Inheritance Tax)
You can say exactly what you want to happen to your property. You can make ‘thank you’ gifts of money. You can make gifts of personal belongings that are special to you and the person to whom they are given. You can make gifts to spouses / civil partners, and to charities, that are free of Inheritance Tax (death duties). You can appoint Guardians to look after your young children.
You can choose who you want to be your Executors and Trustees.
Fundamentally, your Will is a record of your instructions on how you want your estate to be distributed and can, if you wish, include your directions regarding your funeral.