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Legacies

A legacy to UCL is a powerful gift, one with the potential to benefit generations, and we understand it may also be the most significant and meaningful gift you make.

Your support will mean that we can open our doors to the most talented people regardless of their gender, race or religion, ensuring that brilliant minds of all kinds have a stake in shaping our future, and entrenching UCL’s own legacy as a force for good in the world.

It will ensure that our researchers have the tools they need to tackle some of the world’s most complex problems and can uphold the founding spirit of radical curiosity of our exceptional institution.

A legacies interview with Professor Robin Weiss

In October 2020, we spoke to UCL alumnus, staff member and legator Professor Weiss about his decision to leave an unrestricted legacy to UCL.

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Will for Good – a free online will service

UCL works in partnership with philanthropic giving specialists Bequeathed (Will for Good) to make the process of making an online will straightforward and secure.

When registering your interest via bequeathed.org/ucl, you’ll begin a three step process:

  • Firstly, you’ll be invited to take part in a short online interview to confirm your personal details
  • Secondly, Bequeathed will organise 30-minute appointment at the end of the process with an accredited legal firm – in person, on the phone or via video call, to ensure all the details are correct
  • Finally, your chosen legal firm will send you a copy of your will for you to sign in front of witnesses and return for filing.

If you consent to provide your details to Bequeathed, they will share them with UCL. If you have also chosen to remember UCL in your will. It means we can ensure your generous gift is properly allocated and, of course, we’d love to say thank you.

It’s as easy as that. Bequeathed also have a team of advisors to help you whenever you have questions – or you can simply contact advancement@ucl.ac.uk at any point in the process.

Frequently asked questions about legacies


What impact will my gift have?

Philanthropic gifts, inherently risk-tolerant and responsive, are an increasingly important way of underpinning the financial independence of UCL and ensuring its continued success. By leaving a gift in your will, you will be making a lasting and significant difference to the UCL community and beyond. For some people, it is the opportunity to make their most significant and personal gift — it can be very much the gift of a lifetime.

Can I add a legacy gift to UCL to an existing will?

Yes, you can add a codicil to your existing will that includes UCL. A codicil is an addition or amendment to a will and is a straightforward way to add another gift or make minor changes to an existing will. Please do seek the advice of a solicitor before entering a codicil to ensure it is properly executed.

If I fill out and submit a legacy pledge form, am I under any legal obligation to leave UCL a gift?

No – submitting the legacy pledge form does not put you under any legal obligation to give to UCL and you are free to change your mind at any time. Your decision to leave a gift to UCL and all the information you send to us is strictly private and confidential.

Does UCL have charitable status?

Yes, UCL has charitable status for all UK tax purposes. It is listed as an ‘exempt’ charity under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011 and therefore does not have a registered charity number. UCL’s registration number with HMRC is X6243.

What are the tax benefits of leaving a legacy?

By leaving 10% or more of the ‘net value’ of your estate to charity in your will, you could also be eligible for a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax on some, or all, of your assets. Please speak to your solicitor who will be able to offer further advice on this.

Can I choose where my gift goes?

You can direct your gift to a specific area or leave it unrestricted, for the university to allocate to areas of greatest need. We would advise you to speak to a member of our Advancement Office to discuss the area you would like to give to, in order to ensure that UCL will be able to carry out your wishes.

How does UCL recognise those who have pledged to leave a legacy?

UCL is proud to recognise and thank its supporters. If you have already pledged to leave a legacy, or if you intend to do so, we offer a range of engagement opportunities. Designed to recognise and celebrate the generosity of our supporters, our activities ensure you can see first-hand the impact that philanthropic support has on our community. For those who pledge at the most generous levels, membership to our Circle of Benefactors is offered, along with bespoke recognition activities.

I don’t want a fuss — do I have to let UCL know about my intention to leave a legacy gift?

You do not have to tell UCL if you plan to include us in your will. However, to ensure that the university will be able to carry out your wishes we recommend you discuss them with us in confidence. Letting UCL know your thoughts also allows us to thank you for your generous gift in a way you are comfortable with. All conversations will remain private and your wishes will be respected if you prefer to remain anonymous.