What is a legacy and what types of gifts can I put in my Will?

A legacy is a gift made in your Will to a person or organisation, such as a charity or your church. You can choose to leave:

  • A share of your estate (also known as a residuary legacy), made after any debts and cash legacy gifts are paid. The advantage of leaving a share of your estate is that it will automatically increase or decrease in line with the total estate value, so you don’t need to worry about inflation or how much will be left after the expenses of old age.
  • A fixed sum of money (also known as a pecuniary legacy). Unlike a residuary legacy this will not automatically fluctuate in line with your wealth, so it may be worth reviewing from time to time to check it still reflects your wishes. You can also index-link the amount so that it keeps in line with inflation.
  • A gift of a particular item, for example a piece of jewellery, furniture or a painting. You could also consider the direction of a death-in-service benefit or bequeathing stocks and shares.
  • A life interest or trust beneficiary. Depending on your circumstances you may be setting up a trust in your Will. Once it has been used to benefit the primary individual, it is possible to nominate a charity to be a final beneficiary.

We recommend taking advice from a legal professional if you are unsure which type of gift to choose.

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