Your Legacy, and the University of Cape Town
UCT is South Africa's oldest university and the leading research university on the African continent. The mission of the university is to be an outstanding teaching and research university, educating for life and addressing the challenges facing our society. But like every great university in the world, UCT cannot thrive and grow to meet its future challenges without the generous support of its alumni and friends. For many people, the opportunity to leave a personal legacy by bequeathing a donation to their university is a meaningful way of ensuring that their often hard-earned assets will continue to benefit society for many decades to come. It is a centuries-old tradition, and is truly "the gift that keeps on giving". The university would welcome an opportunity to discuss with you how a legacy gift might benefit future generations of UCT students, and would be most appreciative of your consideration of remembrance of the university in your will.
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, and 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.
Making a Bequest
For many people, the best way to make a substantial 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.
The benefits to you of making a bequest to UCT
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 should please 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.
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.
If you would like us to send you a sample codicil, please email René Nolte.
There is great flexibility in making a bequest
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. It is advisable to talk to your lawyer, estate administrator, or financial adviser about the best choice for you and your family.
Making your intentions clear
It is important that your intentions are clearly defined in your will. We can provide examples of suitable wording that will ensure that your bequest accomplishes exactly what you intended. 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 need. 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. You may, for example, wish to establish a scholarship or bursary for financially disadvantaged students, named in honour of a friend, colleague or family member. You may wish to endow a chair, or purchase books for the library, or assist in equipping a laboratory. There are many possibilities.
The Heritage Society
We have established the UCT Heritage Society, with former Vice-Chancellor Dr STUART SAUNDERS as its President. At the end of 2010 Emer Prof FRANCIS WILSON, took over the reigns when Dr Saunders decided to step down as President. Prof Wilson is a highly acclaimed author and taught at the UCT School of Economics for 40 years. He has written widely on the South African political economy, founded the South African Labour & Development Research Unit and directed the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development. His very popular book Dinosaurs, Diamonds & Democracy is one of the best-selling books in its genre. He was Chairperson of the Council of the University of Fort Hare and chaired South Africa's National Water Advisory Council.