Making a Bequest

Leaving a legacy to future health - through a bequest to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences

The field of medicine owes much to the rich legacy of skill and knowledge inherited from those who went before. Throughout his tory, we have relied on knowledge - passed on from generation to generation - to fight disease and promote better health.

The UCT Faculty of Health Sciences has been part of this tradition. By leaving a bequest channelled through the Heritage Society to the Medical Faculty Fund in your Wil l, you can help ensure this continues for generations to come.

Who knows what may lie ahead - a cure for cancer or AIDS ... medication to prevent multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or Alzheimer's ... advances in surgical techniques ... new treatments for arthritis and asthma.

If a bequest in your Will contributed to a medical breakthrough or to improving health care, it would be a legacy equal to that of our forefathers.

For many people, the best way to make a substantial a gift to the University is through a bequest. A bequest is a specific provision in your will, directing some of the assets in your estate to the University. Bequests are also known as 'planned' or 'deferred' gifts. The advantage of this type of giving is that you still have the use of your assets during your lifetime, with the satisfaction of knowing that a part of your estate will support UCT's tradition of academic excellence into the future.

Do you have a will?

Everyone over the age of 18 needs a valid will, regardless of state of health or wealth. If you die without a valid will, you lose forever the right to decide what will happen to possessions it has taken you a lifetime to accumulate. The State will decide how your assets are distributed, and some precious items may have to be sold in order to divide your assets according to rigid State laws. Your family will be involved in additional heartache and worry at what is already a difficult time, your estate will take a long time to settle and will attract the maximum amount of tax.

How to make a will

You should consult an attorney, trust company, accountant or other qualified professional to construct a legally valid, properly-worded will. The cost of professional help is usually modest, and is often offered for free, provided the trust company or bank is nominated as executor of the will. In return, they will give you advice, and show you ways to save on estate duty. You should review your will periodically to ensure that it has kept up with any big changes (births, deaths) in your life.

What if I already have a will and wish to add UCT as a beneficiary?

If you would wish to add UCT as a beneficiary to a will that has already been drawn up, you can add a Codicil (which is an addendum, or supplement) to your existing will. The codicil must be signed by the testator, and also by two witnesses who do not stand to benefit from your will or Codicil. You have several options when making a bequest in your Will. You can bequeath:

  • A specific sum of money - this is the simplest bequest but it is also the most easily affected by inflation

  • A percentage of your estate - thereby ensuring a specific distribution between your beneficiaries regardless of any changes to your estate

  • The residue of your estate - after having made provision for your dependants you may choose to bequeath the remainder of your estate to UCT

  • A life assurance policy - you can sign over an existing policy or take out a new one, naming UCT as the beneficiary

  • Real estate, artworks, antiques, jewellery and other valuables

Making your intentions clear

It is important that your intentions are clearly defined in your will. You may make an unrestricted or a restricted bequest, and you can choose whether your donation should be spent in the near term to meet immediate needs, or invested in the endowment (managed by the University of Cape Town Foundation, an independent body) where the annual investment proceeds support UCT in perpetuity.

An unrestricted bequest to the endowment leaves the future investment and utilisation of your gift to the discretion of the University of Cape Town Foundation Trustees. An unrestricted bequest to the University allows UCT flexibility to direct your bequest to areas of greatest current needs. Alternatively you may wish to make a restricted bequest, with a specific purpose or designation in mind, and again either for spending in the near term or investment in the endowment.

An example of wording for an unrestricted bequest:

"I bequeath to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences an amount of R ... (alternatively a percentage of my estate, or the residue of my estate). The Council of the University of Cape Town may utilise this bequest at its discretion".

Some examples of wording for restricted bequests:

Example 1: A straightforward direction of how the gift should be utilised

"I bequeath to the University of Cape Town an amount of R... (alternatively a percentage of my estate, or the residue of my estate) for work in heart disease/environmental protection/ etc"

Example 2: A straightforward direction which also allows future flexibility as fields of study and research change over time:

"I bequeath to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences an amount of R.....

(alternatively a percentage of my estate, or the residue of my estate) for research in education/language development/urban planning/law/etc. If this bequest at any time, in the judgement of the University Council can no longer be used for this purpose, Council may use the bequest for any goal that, in its judgement, corresponds most closely to my intentions.

Example 3: Investment in the endowment

"I bequeath to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences an amount of R... (alternatively a percentage of my estate, or the residue of my estate) to be invested by the University of Cape Town Foundation Trustees. The annual income from this investment shall be used to provide a bursary for a needy and deserving student. The bursary shall be known as the John and Jane Alumni bursary, and shall be awarded in accordance with the University's bursary policies in each year. In order to make provision for inflation, the University Trustees may capitalise part of the annual income generated by this bequest."

An example of wording for gifts in kind:

"I bequeath to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences my collection of (books, paintings, etc) comprising.......

Making a deferred gift to UCT through a bequest means:

  • You have the use of your assets during your lifetime
  • You can consider many options to ensure that your bequest is personally meaningful
  • A bequest to the University is exempt from estate duty in terms of the relevant section of the Estate Duty Act, and thereby reduces the value of the estate which is subject to taxation.
  • Those who reside in countries other than South Africa are encouraged to contact the Development and Alumni Department for guidance on local estate duty laws.
  • Your gift will be appropriately recognised during your lifetime through membership of UCT's Heritage Society
  • Your legacy will benefit UCT and its students for decades to come