What is a Memorandum of Wishes ?
Commonly a Memorandum of Wishes is a document that is used in conjunction with a Trust.
However, it can also be used as a letter of wishes with a Standard Will to direct your Executors on how you would like your low-value personal chattels distributed.
Memorandum of Wishes with a Standard Will
When used with a standard Will a Memorandum of Wishes is a Document stating your personal wishes for any small low-value informal gifts you wish to make such as personal chattels.
It is not always a good idea to put small gifts such as ornaments or trinkets directly in a Will as a gift. This is because sometimes such items could later be broken or even sold and your Will would need to be re-written.
They should ideally instead be placed in a separate Memorandum of Wishes Document. This document is then stored with (not attached to) the Will and can be altered at a later date as it is not legally binding.
The benefit of this is that you can change the wishes in a Memorandum of Wishes in the future without the cost of changing your Will.
Memorandum of Wishes with a Trust
When used with a Trust a Memorandum of Wishes provides guidance to the Trustees of the Trust outlining and detailing how the Settlor (the person who created the Trust) wishes their trust assets to be utilised.
The Settlor of a Trust leaves a Memorandum of Wishes for their Trustees to follow after their death. This ensures monies are used for the chosen beneficiaries.
The Memorandum can also include additional wishes for example, regarding the appointment of new trustees on the settlor’s death.
A Memorandum of Wishes is an expression of the wishes of the Settlor and is not binding on the Executor’s or Trustees.
A Memorandum of Wishes must be in writing signed and dated by the Settlor.
There is no legal requirement for A Memorandum of Wishes to be witnessed.