Bequeathing a non-profit organisation – donation by will

leaving a legacy, they can give an organisation the right to a part of their estate but without giving them status as heir. Testators can also leave their free quota to non-profit organisations in a will or a contract of succession. By

Summary of the most important points

  • Is there an organisation that you always wanted to support financially? Or is there a particular cause that is close to your heart and you wish to leave something to it? You can leave a part of your estate to this organisation in your will.
  • It is best to set out in writing in a contract of succession or a will what you would like to bequeath to whom.
  • Think about whether the non-profit organisation should receive the status as heir or not.

How do I choose a non-profit organisation?

Before testators choose a non-profit organisation, it is important that they take a close look at the organisation. In other words, they should examine in detail what it does and how it uses its funds. ‘Zewo’ (Swiss monitoring agency for charitable fundraising for Swiss NPOs) awards a quality seal to trustworthy charities in Switzerland after assessing them. It regularly monitors and scrutinises these organisations on how they spend their donations. However, there are also organisations that are trustworthy but are not certified for other reasons. Therefore, testators should conduct a thorough review of the non-profit organisation.

If you have already chosen a non-profit organisation, you can include them in your will by adding the sentence ‘The organisation XYZ shall receive the free quota of my estate.’

Why should I choose a bequest/legacy?

A legacy provides an alternative to the very broad designation of heirs. Testators can use a legacy to give a part of their estate to a non-profit organisation. However, this organisation does not receive the status as heir. When the testator dies, the legatee (in this case, the organisation) only has a claim against the community of heirs, which gives the organisation the right to claim possession of the legacy (a specific sum) for itself. But since the legatee does not receive the status as heir, it is not liable for the debts left by the testator and is also not involved in the administration and division of the estate.

Both, designating heirs and organising a legacy, must be regulated in a will. Therefore, testators must either draw up a will or a contract of succession. While a contract of succession must be certified by a notary, it is sufficient for a will to be written by hand, signed and dated.

Use our free will generator to include Zewo-certified organisations in your will.

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