Your Will is a legal document which outlines how you want to distribute your property when you die. No matter whether you have few assets or many, a Will is important because it means you can choose how you want your estate to be divided. If you do not have a Will, your family will receive a share of your estate according to Intestacy laws.
A Will allows you to make a gift of any possessions and money you leave behind to organisations or beneficiaries of your choosing. This kind of gift is known as a bequest. Some people choose to leave a bequest to an organisation or charity in their Will.
At Rose Lawyers, we can prepare your Will to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes upon your death.
What is a bequest in a Will?
A bequest in a Will refers to the act of giving a gift of something you own to a person or organisation. The person or organisation receiving the item is the beneficiary.
- A bequest is a gift which is made upon your death.
- A bequest can be made through a Will.
When making a bequest in your Will, you can choose to make it in a number of different ways.
Types of bequests
You have a range of ways in which you can make a bequest to someone or to an organisation in your Will. You may choose to provide a fixed financial figure to gift, or you may prefer to allocate a percentage of a remaining amount.
A residual bequest is a gift which is provided after the remainder of your estate has been distributed, and all taxes and debts have been settled.
- A residual bequest can be the total amount remaining after your estate has been distributed, or it may be a percentage of the amount remaining.
- A residual bequest is not a fixed financial sum; it automatically adjusts as the value of your estate changes.
This is a specific financial bequest which can be made based on a fixed sum, which you choose.
- You can make a pecuniary bequest by detailing the person or organisation you wish to benefit from this bequest, and simply including them in your Will.
- The person or organisation will be contacted to receive this sum by the executor of your estate after your death.
You may wish for a person or organisation to have a particular item or piece of property.
- For a specific bequest, you would outline the exact item, property, or share that you wish to gift in your Will.
There is also a range of other types of bequests available to you. If you would like to know more about bequests, we can help you understand these in more detail.
Bequest vs devise – what is the difference?
When reading about Wills, you may sometimes see the term ‘devise’ in relation to making a gift in your Will. A devise used to differ from a bequest in that it was the gift of real property.
Real property simply refers to land, and anything attached to the land, so a devise used to be the way to transfer title of property or land. Today, bequest and devise are used interchangeably and the word ‘give’ is enough to deal with all property.
Common questions about bequests
Do I need to leave a bequest in my Will?
A bequest is a simple way to make a gift to a charity or organisation upon your death. You are under no obligation to make a bequest to anyone. If you do wish to make a bequest, you can choose to make multiple bequests to various people or organisations, or simply make one bequest to an organisation.
Can I choose how my bequest will be used?
If you want your bequest to be used in a particular way, you can make a conditional bequest. This means that they will only get the gift if they use it in the way you have specified. If this is the case, you may wish to contact the organisation you wish to make a bequest to and let them know. This will ensure that your wishes are followed.
Contact Rose Lawyers for advice
Get in touch with our friendly and professional Will and Estate Lawyers in Melbourne today. We can help you understand the different types of bequests and ensure your Will reflects your wishes. Call us on 03 9878 5222 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Julie is an admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria. She has a range of experience in Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Family Law, Taxation...
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