The Gift of Giving

November 30, 2018

Whilst the topic of making a Will is not something that generally brings to mind Christmas festivities more and more people use this time of year to discuss their wishes with family members so that decisions can be made as a family.

If you are considering taking the opportunity of family gatherings to make any decisions in relation to gifts that could be given in your Will, we have put together a simple guide about some of the issues to consider:

  1. Gifts to Children. Whenever there is a gift to a child in a Will you should always consider at what age you would like them to receive their inheritance.  Some people consider that receiving monies at 18 is perhaps not in a child’s best interests and decide to delay money being released to a child until they are slightly older.  A solicitor can advise as to whether there are any tax implications to consider, and also as to whether provisions can be put in place for money to be given to that child early for specific reasons, such as education or for driving lessons or other important life events.
  2. Who will look after the money? If there is a gift to a child and they are not to receive the money until they are older, then you will need to carefully decide who is going to be responsible for looking after that money.  The people responsible are normally referred to as trustees and may be the same people as your executors.  We recommend that you have at least two trustees so that decision making is shared, and if for any reason one person is unable to act as a trustee there is someone there who you have chosen to make those decisions.
  3. Gifts of personal effects. It may be that someone has a lot of personal belongings that they would like to give to individuals.  It can also be the case that the decision as to who is to receive those items can change more regularly than other gifts within a Will.  To avoid the repeated costs of amending the Will, it may be possible to refer in your Will to a list of the items, and you can then update that list as regularly as you require as long as a copy is always signed and dated and placed with your Will.
  4. Gift of a Property. It is now quite common for a couple to give their share in their house to their children rather than to their partner, whilst giving their partner the right to remain living in that property.  This can help manage inheritance tax liabilities, and is also helpful where a couple may have children from a previous relationship, as this can ensure that their half share in the property will go to their children regardless of any future decisions the survivor may make, whilst also providing that their partner can continue to live in the property.   When making a gift of a property you should always ensure that you make it clear whether that gift is free of any mortgage and whether any tax is to be paid by the person receiving the gift or by your estate.
  5. Gifts to Charity. If you are considering a gift to a charity your solicitor can advise you on the potential tax advantages for your estate, and for your chosen charity, in making such gifts. You may wish to consider stating in your will that if for any reason your chosen charity no longer exists your executors can pay the gift to a charity with similar objectives.

When deciding what gifts to make within a Will, you should always ensure that you have fully discussed and considered the implications with your solicitor. It is essential when deciding upon any gifts within your Will that you take legal advice to make sure you fully understand all of the possibilities open to you and the implications of any provisions you make.

If you wish to make a Will, or if you would like to discuss any aspect of will-making, get in touch with Baines Bagguley Penhale and one of our experienced solicitors will be happy to assist.

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