What happens if a gift in my Will fails?

Part of the process of writing a will is planning to ensure that if a gift fails it is clear what you want to happen instead. Not only will we help you identify your gifts, assets and beneficiaries clearly, but we’ll also give you the option of stating what should happen to any gifts which may fail. For example, where someone has died, you could choose for the gift to go to or their children instead, or someone else you specify, or have it returned to the residue of your estate. It’s entirely up to you. If a gift fails and you have not specified what you want to happen to the item or money instead then it will become part of the residue of your estate and is distributed according to your instructions. Related Articles: Why might a gift in my will fail? Back to the Knowledge...

What can I say about my funeral?

As part of your will you can suggest what you would like to happen at your funeral. These suggestions are expressed in a letter of wishes attached to your will. Your funeral wishes are not legally binding. They do not force your executors to do as you wish but they do at least allow you to express your preferences and these should be respected by your executors. The sort of things you may wish to consider including are: Which religion, if any, you would like your funeral to be conducted under Where you would like the funeral to take place and who you would like to conduct it Whether you would like to be cremated or buried and any thoughts you have about a memorial plaque or gravestone Any readings or music you would like at your funeral You may choose not to say anything at all about your funeral and leave it at the discretion of your family or friends. Back to the knowledge...

Can the executor of my will also be a beneficiary?

Yes they can. In fact many people choose close friends or relatives to be their executors, so it is only natural that they will also be beneficiaries too. Your executors can receive any amount in your will, just like any other person. So, that could be a specific gift, property, a substantial share or even the whole lot – there are no restrictions on what you can leave them. Important The only rule you need to concern yourself with is that a beneficiary can’t be one of your witnesses. To read more about getting your will witnessed and who you can choose read our ‘Who can witness your will’ article. When you come to write your Affio will we’ll give you as much help as you need, when you need it, so you’ll be able to make informed choices and the right decisions for you and your circumstances. Back to the knowledge...

Why might a gift in my will fail?

If circumstances have changed or the will is worded poorly then gifts may not come into effect in the way you want. It’s vital your will is written clearly and correctly. There are two main reasons a gift might fail: Circumstances have changed Examples of changes in circumstances that can cause a gift to fail include: The Testator no longer owns the item or property matching the description in the will. The Beneficiary dies before the person who made the will. A charity mentioned in the will no longer exists. There are not enough assets in the estate to satisfy the gift. Affio helps you plan what happens if circumstances change. See our article on What happens when a gift fails. The beneficiary or gift can’t be identified. Examples can include: A gift is unclear – ‘I leave my house to my daughter Mary’, when you have more than one house. A beneficiary being unclear – ‘I leave my brother…’, when you have more than one brother. Beneficiaries cannot be forced to take a gift, so a gift might also fail because a beneficairy refuses to accept it. A gift to a beneficiary would also fail if that beneficiary witnessed the will. At Affio we will help you ensure that both the person and the gift is correctly identified and specified. Once that is done we create will clauses using language provided by legal experts to ensure your wishes are expressed in the proper legal manner, ensuring the right person gets the right gift. Back to the Knowledge...

What happens if the appointment of an executor or guardian fails?

You might have already approached the people you’re going to appoint as guardians and executors in your will for their permission to do so, but let’s face it, a lot can change between now and when your will’s going to be needed. This could include these key people changing their mind, not being around anymore or not being physically able to carry out their responsibilities. How you can minimise the risk of this happening We’d always recommend you appoint substitutes for the key appointments in your will, so if for any reason your first choices aren’t available when the time comes, there is someone who can step in to fill in the gaps. You should carefully consider who to appoint – not only should you check that they’re willing to take on the role in the first place, but you may also want to consider if they’ll be able to cope with the duties required so soon after your death, have the skills needed and are young enough to still be around after you’ve died. If there are no executors or guardians If none of your nominated executors or guardians (or their substitutes) are able to take on the responsibilities at the time, then an application will need to be made to the court to appoint suitable alternatives. Back to the knowledge...

Who should be appointed as an executor?

Being an executor is an important and sometimes demanding responsibility, so it is vital you choose yours with care. It is often a good idea to talk to anyone you’re thinking of appointing before you write your will to make sure they have a fair understanding of what will be expected of them and they are happy to take on this role. If they are not willing, they will have the right to refuse the responsibility when the time comes, so it makes sense to get their permission in advance. Who can be an executor? You can appoint anyone to be your executor. However they won’t be permitted to carry out the role after your death if they are under the age of 18, mentally unsound, or if you have divorced them after making the will. They may not be able to carry out the role if they are bankrupt or in prison. There is no rule against your executors also being beneficiaries, so by using a close family member or friend it doesn’t mean you have to write them out of your will. A good executor could be someone: You trust to follow the instructions you make in your will. Who’s organised and good at paperwork. Willing to take on the role. Able to cope (emotionally and mentally) with the responsibility so soon after your death. With experience of managing legal issues, although this is not essential because legal advice can always be sought (at the expense of the estate) if needed. Who’s likely to be around after your death, so someone who’s probably younger than you are....