Including the College in your Will

The College presumes that you will wish to seek appropriate legal and financial advice when writing your will.  However, this page is intended to help with some of the points that you may wish to take into consideration.

Use of your Legacy Gift

Legacies left for ‘general purposes’ allow the College to use the money in the areas of most need at the time. Nonetheless, we also welcome bequests for specific areas of College life and we would be pleased to discuss the terms of any proposed bequest to the College.  In this way, we can ensure that your wishes are expressed in terms whereby the income can be used fully to good effect by the College, as well as making certain that the College has a clear understanding of your wishes.

Corner of the Chapel Common Forms of Legacy

  • The Pecuniary Legacy. This means leaving a specific sum of money to a named individual or organisation. However, unless it is index-linked, the value of the gift will erode over time with inflation. A Pecuniary Legacy allows you to give a specific sum of money to the College, whose value can be protected from inflation by being linked to the Retail Price Index or similar.
  • The Residuary Legacy. This involves leaving all or part of the residue of your estate to an individual or organisation, after all pecuniary legacies, debts, fees and other liabilities have been met. You may give the whole residue to a particular person or organisation, such as the College, or you may apportion the residue between several beneficiaries. The advantage of this type of legacy is that you do not have to specify the sum and you do not have to take account of inflation in your will. 
  • The Life Interest or Reversionary Legacy. This is an attractive method of providing first for your family or others close to you and then of benefiting the College. It involves leaving your assets to trustees so that the beneficiaries can enjoy the income during their lifetime, with the whole or a portion reverting to the College on their death.
  • The Conditional Legacy. In the event that none of your named dependants survive you, your estate will be left to other named beneficiaries who could include Downing College.
  • The Specific or Non-Money Legacy. You can leave a specific personal possession, such as property, jewellery, antiques, works of art or stocks and shares, to an individual or organisation.
  • Deed of Variation. If you are the beneficiary of a will, it is possible to transfer all or part of your inheritance to the College using a Deed of Variation. Amounts transferred are free of Inheritance Tax that might otherwise be due. This is an excellent tax-efficient opportunity to support Downing in your own lifetime.

If you would like to see our legacy brochure, please click here, or if you would like to discuss leaving a legacy to the College, please contact Susan Esden, Senior Development Manager by email at or by telephone on 01223 334825.

Alumni & Development, Downing College, Cambridge CB2 1DQ. Telephone 01223 334850· Email