Estate Planning: Wills and Bequests Explained

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If you have no immediate family members, or perhaps you have a not-profit organisation close to you, you may be looking to leave a gift, also known as a bequest, in your will. You may choose to transfer a part or whole of your wealth or assets to various not-for-profit organisations in the form of bequests upon your demise. These transfers take place by means of wills. Contact our team of expert wills and estate lawyers for more information on wills and bequests today.

wills and bequests

What are bequests in a will?

Bequests are gifts that are stated in a will.These can either be given to a person or a not-for-profit organisation, foundation or trust. The person or organisation receiving the gift is known as the beneficiary. The beneficiary will either receive a percentage of an estate or include a specific amount of money. 

You should plan your will and bequest before you pass on the assets to any of the beneficiaries. And, before making any special bequests, it is always recommended that a person should consult a Solicitor beforehand.

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What is the difference between inheritance and a bequest?

Inheritance includes the assets that are gifted to a beneficiary after someone dies. It can be in the form of an estate, cash or personal property. The inheritance will also detail the assets and rights an individual has after the person’s passing. The main difference is that inheritance mainly revolves around the beneficiary. 

A bequest is when property or a certain amount of money is given to a person or an organisation through a will. A bequest revolves around your wishes for your legacy.

What are the different types of bequests in a will?

You may allocate your assets by one of the following methods:

Residual bequest:

In this method, you can actually make certain provisions in your will for your loved ones and transfer the remainder or the residue of your assets to the not-for-profit organisation.

Percentage or fractional:

In this method you can allocate a certain percentage or nominate a portion of your assets to the not-for-profit organisation. Bequests made through this method are expressed as a percentage or fraction of the assets.


You may also transfer asset(s) in the form of specific gifts to the not-for-profit organisation, which can be money, real estate or property, artwork, stocks or bonds or shares, jewellery and antiques.

Whole estate:

In this method, the bequest comprises of the entire deceased estate of the testator.

Planned giving through wills and bequests

While making a will, people can choose to leave out a part or entire assets to their loved ones. However, they can forget that some family members have actually made little or no impact in their lives.In reality they forget the real support groups who gave them joyous and happy moments in their life.

Planned giving through wills and bequests is the term used to refer to the arrangements made for a not-for-profit organisation to receive contributions from the estate of a testator after his/her demise.

If you are considering changing your will to include a bequest, please contact the wills and estate lawyers at Owen Hodge today. We have the best wills and bequests lawyers Sydney has to offer. Schedule a consultation now on 1800 770 780.

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Frequently asked questions

The taxable component is usually paid before any money is distributed to the beneficiaries.

A beneficiary of a will has every right to decline, or ‘disclaim’ a bequest that has been left by the testator. Alternative arrangements can be made in these circumstances. 

A bequest is a gift that is a left for a loved one through a will. However, a gift is not always a bequest as it can be made outside a will.

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