Entitlement under a Will
Entitlement under a Will

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Entitlement under a Will
  • Date from which the Will speaks
  • Donee under a Will
  • Grounds for disqualification
  • Exceptions to the rule that gifts to witnesses fail
  • Bankrupt beneficiaries
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Divorce
  • The doctrine of lapse
  • Ademption
  • more

Date from which the Will speaks

Unless there is a contrary intention in the Will, then as to:

  1. property, the Will speaks and takes effect as if it had been executed immediately before the death of the testator

  2. the beneficiaries, the Will speaks from the date of execution (this does not apply to 'class gifts' or to identified gifts to each member of a class)

Donee under a Will

Any person who may be a grantee under a gift inter vivos may be a donee under a Will.

The donee must:

  1. be described with certainty or

  2. be capable of being ascertained on evidence that is admissible

If this is not so then, unless a general charitable intention can be inferred, the gift is void.

A gift to:

  1. the trustees of an existing trust is valid—the gift becomes subject to the trust

  2. a corporate body beneficially is valid—whether its objects are charitable or non-charitable

  3. a corporate body as trustee where the trusts are charitable Will be valid

A gift:

  1. must be in favour of persons or bodies who or which, whether or not in existence at the date of the Will or of the death, are capable of being ascertained within the perpetuity period

  2. is invalid if it is made for a purpose forbidden by statute or contrary to public policy

The donee may

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