Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 12:14 am
When it comes to creating a will, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; you can distribute your estate to whoever you want–whether they’re family or not.
Today, we’re going to talk about some unique ways to leave a gift in your will.
First things first, creating a will is strongly recommended, no matter who you are, or how wealthy you might be. After all, when you’re no longer around, you’re going to want your estate and assets to be passed on exactly as you intend, right?
As we’ll discuss, not everyone wants to create a traditional will. In certain circumstances, some may wish to come up with a unique way of leaving their assets behind, whether that means leaving them to a family pet, or giving them to charity.
As long as the will you’ve created is legally signed and witnessed to avoid a probate dispute, there are very few limitations when it comes to the decisions you can make.
So, how can you create a will that might be out of the ordinary? Let’s take a closer look…
5 Unique Ways to Leave a Gift in Your Will
Leaving Money to a Pet
This might seem like a strange place to start off, but it’s surprising how common this has actually become in recent years. If you have a beloved pet in your life, you may be happy to learn that it’s possible to leave behind some, or all, of your wealth to them, rather than to anyone else.
There have been multiple examples of high-value estates going straight to the owner’s lucky pets. In the USA, an heiress to the Quaker State Refining Corporation left her $4.5 million estate to her 150 dogs (yes, 150!). When the dogs had all passed away, the estate then went to the Auburn University Research Foundation.
While those dogs were forced to share the wealth, some pooches have been even more fortunate. In 2003, a billionaire hotelier rethought an earlier will, and instead left $12 million to her nine-year-old Maltese. Her grandchildren were either cut out of the will entirely or made to visit their father’s grave annually to inherit their share.
Your will does need to make ‘reasonable provision’ for anyone who relies on your financial support. So, you might not be able to be that harsh when it comes to creating it–but that doesn’t entirely rule out giving some money to your pets!
The testamentary freedom we enjoy makes it possible to donate your estate to a charity, or charities, of your choice. This has become much more common in recent years, as people have built a greater affinity with a number of different charities that cater to different needs.
In 2018, it was found that the most popular charities to leave money to in the United Kingdom were all animal charities. Health charities and conservation charities also made the top ten.
You don’t necessarily have to donate to an organization that’s a charity or carries out charitable work. If you wish, you can leave a gift to an organization that simply has a special place in your heart.
An example of this occurring saw a self-made UK millionaire donate his entire £2.3 million fortune to his favorite holiday destination, Sidmouth in Devon. The money was left to the Sid Vale Association, under the condition that some of the money was to be spent on one million flowering bulbs.
A Trip for Loved Ones
We’d like to think that our friends and family will want to raise a glass to us to celebrate our lives when we’re no longer around. So, why not do them the favor of paying for the first few rounds?
In 2013, Roger Brown did this and then some. After he passed away from prostate cancer, it was discovered that he had left money for seven of his closest friends, with the request that they use it for a weekend away in a European city.
The money was mostly spent on beer, which means it’s safe to say that the condition was met!
There are also additional benefits to charity donations that you might want to consider. If you leave something to charity in your will, then it won’t count towards the total taxable value of your estate. This is called leaving a ‘charitable legacy.’
Sharing Your Estate With Lucky Strangers!
If you don’t have many people who you wish to leave gifts to, then it might seem difficult to know who exactly deserves to inherit. Well, if you’re really stuck for ideas, then you can always resort to picking some lucky people at random to gift your estate to.
While it might seem hard to believe, in 2007, 70 complete strangers all received the sort of call one could only dream about. Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral de Camara was an incredibly wealthy bachelor who had no children and had very few friends. So, when it came to writing out his will, he decided to pull out a Lisbon phone book, before picking names out at random.
The lucky beneficiaries all received a share of his wealth when he passed away 13 years later, walking away with several thousand euros each.
Are You Looking to Leave Unique Gifts in Your Will?
So, what have we learned? Well, there are evidently plenty of different and unique ways to gift in your will. This means, if you’re stuck for ideas, you can always use a few of these suggestions for inspiration.
Naturally, these aren’t the only unique gifts you can leave in a will though. If you can think of any other unique will ideas (perhaps one you plan to use), feel free to leave them in the comment section below.