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Trusts and Foundations

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Understanding some legal terms (including kinds of gifts you can leave).

Beneficiary: Any person or organisation to whom you wish to leave a legacy or bequest (gift) in your will.

Codicil: Any change or addition that you make to your will. It must also follow the same legal formalities as the original will.

Contingent bequest: A gift in your will which depends upon the occurrence of an event which may or may not happen. For example – a bequest to a charity which applies only if other beneficiaries named in the will die before the testator (person who made the will).

Estate: The total sum of your possessions, property and money (minus debts) left after your death.

Executor(s): Persons appointed by you to make sure the wishes in your will are carried out.

Intestate: The condition of dying without having made a will.

Legacy: A bequest or gift left in your will, it can be in the form of money, property, stocks and shares or possessions.

Life interest: The right of a beneficiary to benefit from part or all of an estate for their lifetime.

Pecuniary bequest: A gift of a fixed sum of money in your will.

Probate: the legal procedure after death which confirms your will is valid and confirms the executors’ authority to carry out your wishes.

Residuary bequest: A gift of the remainder of the estate after all other bequests have been made and debts cleared.

Specific bequest: A particular named item left as a gift in your will – for example, a piece of jewellery.

Testator: A person who has made a will.

Find out more...

How to leave a legacy

Legacy FAQs

Information for solicitors


Request our will-making guide

Contact us

We would be very happy to discuss the full range of work that requires support, and answer any questions you may have about our work or making a will. We can suggest suitable wording to ensure we can carry out your wishes accordingly.

Please e-mail Geoff Sweeney or telephone him on 0121 245 3500 to talk or to arrange to meet; you are welcome to visit our offices and studios and see our work behind the scenes, or we can arrange to visit you in your home.

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