Q: I’d like to make a gift to a charity in my already-existing will but am not sure how to go about it and want to ensure it doesn’t cause any family disputes. What is the best approach?
A: If the only change that you want to make is to include a new gift then you could complete a codicil to your will. A codicil can add an additional clause to your will without entirely rewriting it.
Often, people wish their gifts to be used for particular purposes. You can include conditions on any gift which you make but you should allow some flexibility. Usually it would be advisable to include a statement of your wishes rather than an outright requirement that your gift be used for a certain purpose.
It is important to make sure that you have a good idea of what your assets or estate are worth. If you make a gift of a fixed amount then you will know how much the charity will receive and also have a good idea of what will be left to divide between your friends and family. However values can change over the years so you should keep things under review.
Disputes can occur in any family situation. The best way to avoid disputes is to be open with your family about what you intend to do or to prepare a letter, to be kept with your will, explaining the reasons behind your legacy decisions. It is also important to review your will so that the amount of gifts can be adjusted if personal circumstances change.
For further information about any aspect of will drafting or estate planning please contact Ian Sydenham on 01244 896637 or firstname.lastname@example.org