If I leave a legacy to The Courtauld in my will, does that mean that my family and friends aren’t looked after when I am gone?
If you care about what happens to your property after you die, regardless of whether you leave a legacy to The Courtauld or not, you should make a will. Without one, the State directs who inherits, so your family and friends may get nothing. The most important thing to consider when writing a will is how your loved ones are looked after.
After your family and friends have been considered, you may wish to leave a legacy to The Courtauld Institute of Art. One way of doing this is to talk to your professional adviser about how to include a residuary legacy to The Courtauld. This is a percentage of your estate after everyone else has been taken care of. You can read more about residuary legacies below.
If you do decide to include The Courtauld Institute of Art in your will, we recommend that you talk with your family or friends about your wish for The Courtauld (or any other charity or good cause) to benefit from your will. This can minimise the potential for disputes.
I don’t own any valuable works of art. What type of legacy can I leave to The Courtauld?
Absolutely anyone can remember The Courtauld with a gift in their will. Government funding and tuition fees only provide for just over half our financial needs and so we depend on donations from individuals to help us cover our costs – gifts of all sizes make a difference.
I have an object (for example a painting, drawing, print, sculpture, work of decorative art, book, periodical or exhibition catalogue) that I want to leave to The Courtauld. How do I do this?
If you are considering leaving an object to The Courtauld, we would strongly encourage you to please contact us to discuss your plans. Naturally, we will treat any such discussions with the strictest confidence and we will only involve appropriate staff from within The Courtauld (for example The Head of The Courtauld Gallery or Head of Book, Witt and Conway Libraries) with discretion.
Once you have discussed your plans with us and you are ready to make the arrangements to leave us a suitable object in your will, please consider leaving a monetary donation alongside this gift. There is an ongoing annual programme of maintenance, upgrades and repairs needed for The Courtauld Gallery as well as the Book, Witt and Conway Libraries, crucial to ensuring the wellbeing of the collections. Costs include the environmental control system, heating, security, fire protection, painting and preservation.
I would like to leave a legacy to The Courtauld Institute of Art. How do I do this?
When writing a will it is important to seek professional advice.
Although it is possible to write a will without a solicitor’s help, this is generally not advisable as there are various legal formalities you need to follow to make sure that your will is valid.
Without the help of an expert, there’s a real risk you could make a mistake, which could cause problems for your family and friends after your death.
What details do I need in order to include The Courtauld Institute of Art in my will?
When including a legacy to The Courtauld Institute of Art it is very important to include our full name, our exempt charity reference XR60596 and the correct registered address:
The Courtauld Institute of Art
London WC2R 0RN
The Courtauld Institute of Art is an exempt charity under the Exempt Charities Order 2002. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have accepted that The Courtauld Institute of Art is a charity for tax purposes under the reference XR60596. This means your gift will be exempt from inheritance tax.
I’d like to restrict my legacy to a specific area of The Courtauld’s work (for example a particular research project or the conservation of a particular painting). How can I do this?
It is best for us if gifts are made unconditionally. The majority of our supporters make their donation in this way because such gifts allow The Courtauld’s Board of Governors to consider carefully how to make the best use of each gift to meet the changing priorities of the time.
Of course, we completely understand if you would prefer your gift to support a certain area of our work. We recommend that you get in touch with us to discuss your intentions, so that we can ensure that the wording of your will allows us to use your gift as you intended.
What kind of legacy gift would be most valuable to The Courtauld?
If you’re in two minds about what kind of gift to leave to us, a share of your estate (a residuary gift, please see below for details) normally holds its value over time.
What is a residuary legacy?
A residuary legacy is a gift of the remainder of your estate, or a percentage, after all other legacies have been made and debts have been cleared. Residuary legacies keep pace with inflation and are an effective way to divide the value of an estate between a number of people and causes.
What is a pecuniary legacy?
A pecuniary legacy is a gift in your will of a fixed sum on money. The value of pecuniary legacies could decrease over time, as the cost of living increases.
For example, if a 60 year old person made a will in 1982 and included a pecuniary legacy of £23,644 (the average house price in 1982) it would not be enough to buy a house if that person died 25 years later (when the average house price was £194,362).
What is a specific legacy?
A particular named item left as a gift in your will is known as a specific legacy. If you are considering leaving an object to The Courtauld, please see the ‘I have an object…’ question above. We would strongly encourage you to please contact us to discuss your plans.
What about the tax benefits?
There can be tax benefits to leaving a gift in your will to charities such as The Courtauld Institute of Art. Your professional advisor will be able to tell you more and you may also find the ‘Inheritance Tax’ section of the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website helpful.
Can I change my mind about leaving a legacy The Courtauld Institute of Art?
Yes. Even if you have told us that you are planning to leave a legacy to The Courtauld, you are completely free to change your will at any time. You do not even have to let The Courtauld know that you have changed your plans, although of course we would be grateful if you did let us know so that we can update our records.
If you have been prompted to change your will because of a change within The Courtauld, perhaps a change in personnel or change to The Courtauld’s mission, please contact us to tell us about your concerns. Of course, you may be prompted to change your will because of a happy circumstance such as the birth of a child or grandchild and if this is the case you should feel assured that we will completely understand when you contact us to let us know. The most important thing to consider when writing a will is how your loved ones are looked after.