Cash legacies are fixed sums of cash left in your will. They take priority over gifts of residue. They are generally used as token gestures, rather than a way to distribute the bulk of your estate.





Legacies FAQs

A gift in a will is called a ‘legacy’.

Once the executors or the administrators have received the grant of probate they can close the bank accounts and sell assets (such as shares and property). If money is just in a bank account it is generally quicker (weeks) than if there is a property to sell (which could be months). If the estate is likely to take some time to settle executors may suggest an interim distribution – so a part payment to the beneficiaries whilst they complete the administration of the estate.

‘Pecuniary legacies’ are a fixed sum of money – ie a ‘cash gift’.

‘Specific legacies’ are specific items just as personal possessions.

‘Residuary gifts’ is money after cash gifts and personal possessions have been distributed and after tax & liabilities have been paid.

There are two ways of doing this – either leaving a ‘pecuniary legacy’ – a fixed sum, or a ‘residuary gift’ – a percentage.

The debts of an estate – funeral, tax and money owing to companies/ businesses – gets paid first, and then the beneficiaries.

The money is collected in by the executors of an estate and then distributed to the beneficiaries.

A ‘legacy will’ is a will that leaves money or specific items to an individual or charity.

You can leave a legacy in your will. By including a legacy in your will it makes the gift legally binding.

You need to decide who the beneficiary is going to be and how much you would like to leave them. You need to ensure that the amount you are leaving them won’t be greater than the total value of your estate when you as the beneficiaries receiving the ‘residue’ then won’t receive anything.

An example of a ‘pecuniary legacy’ or a ‘cash gift’ is £5,000 to each of my grandchildren.

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