Will interpretation—nil rate band legacies
Published by a LexisPSL Private Client expert
Last updated on 13/04/2022

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will interpretation—nil rate band legacies
  • What is the NRB?
  • Cases
  • RSPCA v Sharp [2010] EWCA Civ 1474
  • Loring and others v The Woodland Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 1314
  • Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind v Beasant [2021] EWHC 2315 (Ch)
  • Drafting NRB legacies
  • Practical Points
  • Gifts of NRB which are intended to include TNRB
  • APR and BPR
  • More...

Will interpretation—nil rate band legacies

STOP PRESS: This Practice Note is being reviewed in light of the judgment in Re estate of Arkell (deceased) Beasant (in his personal capacity and as personal representative of Audrey Anita Arkell (deceased)) v Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (also known as Sightsavers International, registered charity number 207544) and others [2022] EWHC 1319 (Ch) made on 30 May 2022.

In a Will construction claim, the court seeks to establish the meaning which the Will would convey to a reasonable person having the background knowledge available to the testator at the time the Will was made.

For an overview of the approach taken by the courts to construction claims, see Practice Note: Will interpretation—principles of construction.

This Practice Note focuses on the construction of nil rate band (NRB) legacies in Wills and, in particular, how the courts will assess the value of the assets passing to the legatee(s), the assets which pass to the legatee, and how the residue of the estate is therefore comprised. The Practice Note also examines precedent wording for NRB legacies and practical issues which can arise following the testator’s death.

What is the NRB?

Each person's estate is exempt from inheritance tax (IHT) up to a certain threshold known as the basic NRB. The NRB is currently frozen at £325,000 until 5 April 2026. For more information about the NRB, see

Related documents:
Key definition:
Charity definition
What does Charity mean?

A charity is an institution which is established for charitable purposes only and falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to charities (Charities Act 2011, s 1)

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