Failure of Gifts in your Will

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Wills

So, you`ve made your Will and decided who the beneficiaries should be and what gifts or legacigiftses you wish to leave them.

How many of you are aware of the all-too-common problems and pitfalls that can occur?

You may no longer own the gift at the date of your death.  For example: “I leave my Volvo Car“ if you no longer own a Volvo Car or even own a car at the date of your death the gift will fail and your chosen beneficiary will lose out on their gift.

The wording of the gift in your Will may be too vague.  Far better to include a clause such as “I leave any car which I own at the date of my death “.  This would mean the gift wouldn’t fail even if you changed your car several times before your death.

Another example of a poorly written clause in a will; “I leave my favourite ring to my granddaughter”.  What if you have several rings and no one knows which is your favourite. Worse still you have several granddaughters!  Here we can clearly see the problem of being too vague when providing for gifts in your Will.

A final example is with pecuniary legacies where you leave a sum of money to a beneficiary. Such as, “I give £2,000 to my sister “, if you no longer have enough money in your estate when you die the gift will fail.

A further problem occurs if the beneficiary has predeceased i.e., died before you, then generally the gift will then fall into the residuary estate.  So, using the previous example if your sister dies before you perhaps you would want the £2,000 gift to go to her children, you will would need to contain a clause to instruct this.

It is sensible to carefully consider all of these issues when it comes to drafting your Will, and this is why it makes sense to speak to a professional.

We are here to help provide our professional expertise, providing guidance to ensure your Will is clear and concise and protecting legacies for your loved ones.


The information provided is of a general nature. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice from an appropriate professional before you take any action or refrain from action. Whilst we endeavour to use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate, complete, reliable, error free and up-to-date information, we do not warrant that it is such. We and our associates disclaim all warranties. The information can only provide an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice.

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