How to leave a gift

Whatever your circumstances, we can guide you through the process of leaving a gift in your will.

Pledging a gift in your will can be a rewarding way to make a difference, at no cost to you now. In most instances your legacy gift will be tax free and it can help reduce your inheritance tax liability.

Whether you’ve already made your will or are thinking about writing a will, leaving a gift to the University can be a simple process.

Talk to us

If you’re interested in pledging a gift in your will, get in touch for an informal conversation.

I don't have a will

It’s never too early to write a will. It’s an important step to take to make sure our loved ones will be looked after when we’re gone and that the assets we’ve worked hard to accumulate will be distributed fairly and according to our wishes.

We recommend consulting a solicitor to help you write a will. 

I already have a will

If you already have a will but would like to add a legacy gift to the University of Edinburgh, you can seek advice from a solicitor to make an addition to your will, known as a codicil.

Different types of gifts

Your gift to the University can take different forms:

  • A share of your estate – known as a residuary legacy, you can choose to leave a percentage of your estate to the University.
  • A fixed sum of money – known as a pecuniary legacy, you can choose to leave a fixed sum of money and you can link this to the Retail Price Index to ensure that its value is worth the same in the future.
  • You can also gift land, buildings, personal possessions, such as books, antiques, paintings, and shares or securities.

Tax benefits

The University of Edinburgh is a registered charity so in most cases your gift to us will be tax-free and will reduce the inheritance tax burden on your estate.

Your donation will either be taken off the value of your estate before inheritance tax is calculated or reduce your inheritance tax rate, if 10% or more of your estate is left to charity.

Making a will during the Covid-19 pandemic

Completing your will with a solicitor is still possible during lockdown. New guidance means you don’t need to go to a solicitor’s office - a telephone call or email will start the process. The requirement of having your Will signed by one (Scotland) or two (England and Wales) witnesses who are not family members or beneficiaries under the Will might be challenging during the pandemic, but alternative arrangements can be made. 

Your solicitor will be able to advise in detail, but the Law Society of Scotland has introduced new temporary guidance to ensure will making (and the certification of powers of attorney) can still take place with the lawyer acting as the witness via video conference. 

In England and Wales no such temporary measures have been put in place but the matter is being looked at by the Law Society and Ministry of Justice.  In the meantime, your solicitor will be able to advise about the use of a ‘letter of wishes’ or witnessing within social distancing guidelines e.g. through a window. 

If you are based in the US

For US donors interested in leaving a legacy, visit our Planned Giving website to review your options.

Visit our Planned Giving website.

How we say thank you

We are extremely grateful to everyone who pledges to leave a gift in their will. Legacy giving has helped us to set up scholarships and bursaries, improve our facilities, and support research breakthroughs.

Everyone who pledges to leave a gift in their will become part of our Carlyle Circle, which was first formed in 1990.

Find out more about the Carlyle Circle.