By including Somerville in your will, you can make a special gift with a lasting impact. You can help the College continue to address the world’s critical problems through cutting-edge research and preserve the essential characteristics of Somerville for future generations. 

You can also help secure the future of the extraordinary educational opportunities Somerville offers, and make these accessible to talented students from all backgrounds, and all areas of the globe.

To learn more about leaving a gift to Somerville in your will, please contact Brett de Gaynesford or a member of the Development Office for more information. We will be happy to help.

Thank you for considering us in your future plans. Somerville College is a registered charity (no. 1139440).

Are there tax benefits?

Absolutely. In leaving a legacy, you may gain significant financial and tax benefits for you and your family, as any gift to charity (including Somerville) in your will is tax-free in the UK. The gift is deducted before your estate is valued for tax purposes, so it reduces the inheritance tax your beneficiaries pay. Currently, if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charities, your friends and family will also benefit from a 10% discount on inheritance tax (36% instead of 40%).

These benefits vary internationally, so please contact us to learn more about making a gift from outside the UK. In particular, the United States has many tax-efficient options, and although we always recommend you consult a financial advisor, we can answer general questions and point you to helpful resources.

How do I leave a gift in my will?

Leaving a gift to the College is easy. You simply include the details of your gift and any specific instructions in your will. Your gift may include a sum of money, shares, a life insurance policy, buildings, land or other property. Depending on what you would like to achieve, there are a variety of options and we are happy to help provide more information on these.

A brief overview of the most common types of legacy gift with which you can support the College, as well as some suggested wording to discuss with your solicitor, can be found below. 

If you already have a will, but are contemplating a bequest to Somerville, the addition of a codicil should be brought up with your solicitor. 

AN Overview of Legacy Gifts

Sample Legacy Wording

Making your plans

If you are considering a legacy, please let us know. We would like the opportunity to thank you, and to talk with you about your wishes and intentions. While not committing you in any way (and remaining confidential if you prefer), including us in your current plans helps us respond appropriately and ensures your wishes are understood and achievable. We are also very glad to be able to thank you personally and if you wish, to keep you informed about the impact your gift could make. 

To ensure that the gift you make benefits Somerville in perpetuity, we would be grateful if you would consider leaving a legacy to Somerville’s endowment fund. We would be happy to speak with you in confidence about whether that would suit you, or whether there are any particular areas of the College’s work you would like your gift to support and also how we can acknowledge your generosity.

Because each legacy restricted to a particular purpose is unique, we encourage those considering this type of gift to speak with our team, agree plans, and discuss appropriate language to take to your solicitor.

Somerville Will Power

Our legacy society has been founded to honour and celebrate those extraordinary people who have decided to support the College in this way.  Benefits of membership include an annual event with a special programme, a commemorative lapel pin.  We would like to recognise those members who are happy for their names to be listed in the annual Donor Report, although we fully understand if you would prefer for your gift to remain anonymous.

We welcome you to join this close group of alumni and friends who share your commitment to the College and the desire to provide an enduring legacy for future generations.

Thank you.

The new Catherine Hughes Building
The new Catherine Hughes Building

The Meaning of Giving

Ruth Thompson (1971, Modern History)

In 2017, Somerville was the beneficiary of a generous legacy from Honorary Fellow Ruth Thompson, who remained deeply engaged and supportive of the College throughout her lifetime. She inspired many of us with her warmth, humour, and dedication, and it was with characteristic candour that she let it be known she was particularly interested in supporting and encouraging our students.

Ruth kindly agreed to speak at a Supporters’ Lunch about why she chose to support Somerville and moved many with her heartfelt words. As well as acknowledging the deep impact of her time at Somerville on her own life, Ruth also said quite simply that the one reason she gave to Somerville is because she ‘[trusted] Somerville to do the right thing with it.’

Harriet Maunsell (1962, PPE)

Somerville is also the recipient of a planned gift from Honorary Fellow, Harriet Maunsell OBE. Of her gift, Harriet said, “I was so lucky to be able to come to Somerville. I’d like everyone who has the opportunity to come to Somerville to be able to do so without worrying about the cost. To help with that, I’ve left a legacy to Somerville.”