These are a few of my favourite things…
8 September 2017 by Diane Rudd
When people make Wills they often want to give specific items to specific people. These could be financially valuable such as a property or sentimentally valuable such as an engagement ring or of course both.
This sometimes happens when a person has shared an important part of their life with someone else, for example they may have supported a football team all of their lives and attended many matches with a particular friend. They may then wish to bequeath a personal item of football memorabilia to their friend as a reminder of all of the good (and hopefully not bad) football results.
Another reason might be that several members of the family may really like a particular item or items and the person making the Will may wish to use their Will to prevent any arguments after their death. I remember several family members wanting a biscuit tin which contained a favourite jigsaw and the resulting arguments which could have been avoided had this been left in a Will.
When leaving an item it is always useful to identify it so that it is not confused with anything else. A bequest of say a Lladro figurine would be difficult if several Lladro figurines were owned without a description identifying which figure was referred to in the Will.
One pitfall to avoid is giving a particular item to somebody who cannot accept it, for example the giving of a shotgun to someone who does not have a shotgun licence. It must also be possible to own an item – a revolver kept since the Second World War cannot be legally held by anybody. An Executor would not want to be arrested for carrying a revolver to a beneficiary.
It is also important that the items can be found. If they are hidden in a secret place then it would make sense for Executors to know where they are.
There has been some unusual bequests in the past sometimes involving historical figures. Napoleon for example wanted his head shaved and his hair distributed amongst his friends.
Some vindictive people can leave something that could be considered unpleasant perhaps to settle age old scores, such as leaving a fur coat to a vegetarian. This may not however have the desired effect as a beneficiary can always say that the item is not wanted even if the fur coat is wrapped up in brown paper packaging and tied up with string (with apologies to “The Sound of Music” fans!).
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