Personal chattels - car

I am new to the forum and am dealing with an estate which contains the following personal chattels clause and I would be grateful if anyone could confirm whether this would include a named person (***) selecting a car? As in this instance the “keepsake” would be valued between £6,000 and £7,000. Or would it be a possibility to offset the value of the car against the residuary gift that the same person is to receive?

I GIVE to my Trustees free of all duties and taxes payable on or by reason of my death those of my personal chattels as defined by Section 3(1) Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 being items of personal use or adornment (except those which are subject to specific gifts in this Will or any Codicil hereto) to hold the same for my *** and my *** absolutely to choose any items as keepsakes as they see fit and thereafter to hold the same as an immediate accretion to my residuary estate

I appreciate any advice offered in relation to this topic.

Angela Robertson
Lambert Taylor & Gregory

Whilst items of “personal use” may include a car, as the gift refers to “keepsakes”, to my mind this suggests it is intended any item is selected for its sentimental value, rather than its intrinsic value.

A dictionary definition of “keepsake” is: “a gift that evokes memories of a person or event”. To my kind, this implies a keepsake is retained, otherwise how does it “evoke memories”. If disposed of, one only has the memories and nothing physical to evoke them.

As this makes no reference to the item’s intrinsic value, it may be a question of proportionality. If the deceased had other items, or sets, of personal chattels that could be of similar value why would a car used personally by the deceased be excluded. A stamp collection could equally be a “keepsake”.

It might be appropriate to ask the beneficiary what they would intend to do with the car. If they intend to sell it, can it be a “keepsake”?

If the beneficiary can legitimately take the car under the “keepsake” gift, then it would be inappropriate to try and re-balance residue by off-setting the value against their residuary entitlement.

Paul Saunders

Hi Angela,

I use a precedent book which gives the wording ‘jewellery and items of personal use or adornment’ to describe a gift of jewellery, silk scarves, watches etc. Perhaps the draftsman has used something similar but dropped the ‘jewellery’ bit (perhaps if the deceased is a man)? If that is the case, I would say that a car is outside of the scope of the gift, but I admit that this is something of a leap on my behalf.

I do not think you can offset it from residue.

Rachel Saunders
Hart Law LLP

Hi Angela

that is a good point!

If we look at the definition in Section 3(1) Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014, as referred to in the will, I would say there is a very strong argument that the car could be included in this category. However the wording in that clause (referring to keepsakes after referring to s3)* does make it ambiguous.

*“Personal chattels” means tangible movable property, other than any such property which— consists of money or securities for money, or was used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes, or was held at the death of the intestate solely as an investment:”._

From a practical point of view, I would consult with the executors and beneficiaries as to what the intention would have been/ whether all would agree the car should be considered.

Hope you find an easy solution

Alexandra Livesey
Solomons Solicitors

I agree with Paul about the use of the word “keepsake”, and also with
Angela’s concerns.

However, it seems to me that the specific legacy is joint to the two named
[or described] legatees, so I would expect them to jointly specify any
item(s) they [or either of them] wish to select, rather than each having an
individual right to choose.

It is not clear if they are also residuary legatees, but perhaps this may
help to resolve matters in what is seemed to be a fair way?

Kevin Mullen