If you don't have a will
Your will is a document instructing on how you would like your estate to be divided when you pass away. Your estate comprises everything that you own, including property, objects (known as ‘chattels’), savings, investments, and pensions. Once put together, your estate is probably worth much more than you originally thought. Without a will, some or even all of your estate may end up passing to the Government. Writing your will gives you peace of mind that your assets will go to those you love, and more people are choosing to leave a percentage of their estate to a charity that is close to their heart.
We would always advise using a solicitor to write your will. A solicitor who has qualified as a Trust and Estate Practitioner will be able to ask insightful questions to help you consider how you would like your estate to be managed, but any solicitor will be able to write a will that is unambiguous and robust against challenge. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners has an online directory (www.step.org/online-directory) to help you find a qualified practitioner in your area.
You can download our suggested wording for a legacy here, which you may find useful to share with your solicitor. If you would like your gift to benefit a more specific area we recommend that you contact our Legacy Officer, Emma Hazlewood, who would be deighted to offer bespoke advice and wording for your gift. Emma can be contacted on +44(0) 121 414 7957 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you already have a will
It is advisable to update your will every three years as your circumstances, and UK legislation, change. If you will not be updating your will in the near future, you can still choose to include a gift to the University by writing an amendment (called a codicil) to your current will. You can download our guide to codicils here. We recommend sharing this with your solicitor, and to always seek professional legal and financial advice.
What you can give
Gifts in wills take various different forms, all of which could benefit our staff and students. The four most common types of gift are listed below.
A residuary bequest is a gift of anything that is left over once all other specific gifts in your will have been distributed (the 'residue'). You can leave the whole of your residue to Birmingham, or a percentage of it.
A pecuniary bequest is a specific gift from your estate. This is usually a specific sum of money, but it can be a percentage of your estate’s total worth. Donating a percentage of your estate means that your gift will not diminish in value over the years.
A particular item, such as a work of art, a property, or stocks and shares. The wording for this is the same as a pecuniary bequest except that the gift is an item rather than a figure or percentage.
A reversionary bequest means that you can allocate all or part of your estate to a beneficiary (such as a spouse) for use during their lifetime, and once that person has passed away the remainder of the funds would pass to the University of Birmingham.
We have full charitable status and any gift that you leave to us is free from UK inheritance tax. We are exempt from the requirement to register as a charity under the Charities Commission, and therefore do not have a registered charity number. Our HM Revenue and Customs tax-exemption number is X7237. For more information on giving tax-efficiently in your will, visit the Legacy 10 website.
You can still leave a gift to the University in your will even if you are not resident in the UK, but you might not benefit from tax-deduction. We recommend that all legacies are given directly to the University of Birmingham at the address above, although US residents can choose to give to the University of Birmingham Foundation if this enables tax-efficient giving. Your financial advisor is the best person to advise on any tax benefits available to you.
Get in touch
If you have left us a gift in your will, we would love to hear from you so we can thank you properly and keep you informed about the amazing things that gifts in wills are enabling us to do. If you would like more information, or to let us know that you have remembered us, please contact Emma Hazlewood on +44(0) 121 414 7957 or at email@example.com. Thank you for remembering Birmingham.