try it now

Types of Gift

How it Works

1.Fill in the online form1.Fill in the online form
Specifying your requirements
2.Review your Will2.Review your Will
Before you pay!
3.Make Payment3.Make Payment
Only once you are happy
4.Sign your Will4.Sign your Will
Print your Will or receive it in the post
Home / Types of Gift

There are three types of gift you can leave in your Will: specific gifts, non-specific gifts and residuary gifts. There are also some issues that should be considered when leaving gifts to children and when giving to charities through your Will. Gifts that are not properly laid out in the Will can 'fail', but proper legal advice and attention to detail can prevent this. This section provides more information on all these issues.

On this page:

Specific gifts

A specific gift is a particular item or sum of money that you wish to give someone in your Will, for example, a house, a piece of jewellery, £10,000. It is important that the gift is described precisely in your Will, so that the executors can understand exactly what you intended. For example, when leaving someone a house, you should state the full address and make clear whether its contents are to be included as part of the gift or distributed to other beneficiaries.

Non-specific gifts

A non-specific gift is a general gift that does not refer to any particular item, such as 'all my personal possessions'.

Residuary gifts

The 'residue' of an estate is everything that is left in your estate after all debts, bills and taxes have been paid and all specific and non-specific gifts have been distributed. Leaving the residue of an estate to a named beneficiary is called a 'residuary gift'. Residuary gifts are a common way to ensure that all remaining property passes to your chosen beneficiaries, rather than falling under the intestacy rules.

Gifts to children

Gifts to a child under the age of 18 will normally be held by the executors for safekeeping until the child reaches 18, unless you state in your Will that the child's parent or guardian may take receipt of the gift on the child's behalf.

A common way to pass gifts to children is to set up a trust, especially when making arrangements in your Will for your own children. For more information, see our section on Trusts.

Gifts to charities

All gifts that you leave to charity in your Will are free from Inheritance Tax. You can choose to give a specific amount of money or even a valuable item, for example a piece of jewellery.

By giving a charitable donation in your Will, you can support the causes that were important to you during your lifetime. Over the past few years, more people have been giving regular donations to charities through direct debits and standing orders, and it is logical for many to leave a small or sustainable sum to their selected charity when they have passed away. Even if the amount left seems small, it can often be very helpful to charities compared to regular donations, because legacies left to charities are not taxable.

There are also financial benefits in leaving money to selected charities in a Will. Some people decide to give charitable donations to reduce the value of their estate, while supporting a good cause. This can ensure that an estate is valued below the nil-rate band, so that no Inheritance Tax is payable on their assets.

If you choose to leave a gift to a charity, your Will should state the full name of the charity, the registered charity number and the amount or item that you wish to give.

Gift failure

When a problem in the Will prevents the intended beneficiary from receiving what the deceased person wanted to give them, this is referred to as gift failure. It can happen for a number of reasons, the most common being that the instructions in the Will are not specific or clear enough about what is being given or to whom. The following examples show the kinds of errors that can lead to a gift failing.

Request a Callback

Fill in the short form below and one of our will writers will get back to you.
Full Name
Call Between
Send Request