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The contents of David Bowie’s Will have now been revealed after the Will was filed in a New York court with the Starman leaving nearly all of his estimated £70m fortune between his wife and children.

What may not come as a surprise is that the Will contains very Bowie-esque provisions in relation to his final resting place with his ashes being scattered in Bali in a Buddhist ritual. Maybe a little more surprising to some are the large amounts of money (known as “pecuniary legacies”) Bowie has also left to his children’s former nanny and also to his personal assistant.

Bowie’s Will is a prime example of ‘getting it right’ in that he ensured the right people benefit in the way he wished them to. He obviously held the family’s former nanny and his personal assistant close to his heart often describing the former nanny as his son’s ‘second mother’ and wanted to ensure that, although not direct family, this was reflected in his estate. This is something, without a properly drafted Will, he wouldn’t have been able to do.

Who can I leave gifts to?

Gifts can be left to whoever you like, so friends, family and charities all count. It also does not matter if a gift is left to one of your executors; this is perfectly fine to do. What is worth bearing in mind that each of the following types of legacy has different legal rules attached to it and it is important to understand the consequences of each of them when drafting your Will. 

What kinds of gifts can I leave to people?

There are various types of gifts or legacies that can be left to someone in your Will;

Pecuniary legacy – a gift of money e.g. £10,000 to ‘A’.

Specific legacy – these are gifts that are distinguishable from all other items and fall into two  categories; generic gifts that are capable of increasing or decreasing e.g. ‘my library of books’ or ‘my shares in XYZ’; or more specific gifts that have reference to what is there at the time of making them e.g. my classic guitar.

Demonstrative legacy– a legacy payable from a designated fund e.g. £1,000 from my bank account held with ABC Building Society.

General legacy – this is a gift not usually distinguishable from the rest of the estate e.g. I give 100 shares in ABC to ‘B’ and does not usually contain the word ‘my’ (which differentiates it from a specific legacy).

Residuary legacy– this is the gift of all property that remains after the payment of all expenses, debts, tax and liabilities and can be split into percentages or proportions amongst as many beneficiaries as you see fit.

Advice about Wills

For more advice on legacies in your Will or any other aspect of your Will, please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate Department. Bray & Bray have three main offices across Leicestershire, feel free to phone or pop in to talk to our solicitors.

Leicester 0116 254 8871

Hinckley 01455 639 900

Market Harborough 01858 467 181