Peterhouse Chapel

Making a Bequest

The College welcomes gifts by bequest, of any sum, to support any aspect of its life and work.  It especially welcomes money left for its general purposes, for investment with the income applied wherever it is most needed. Such generosity enables the College to command its own resources as needs and opportunities, at present unforeseeable, may demand. But you can be sure that the needs will not diminish, and nor will the College’s gratitude for any assistance which you are able to offer. Whatever your wishes, Peterhouse undertakes to abide by them as a condition of accepting your legacy. 

Though the College will be pleased to advise on specific forms of words, you are encouraged to take legal advice about the formulation of any Will.  You may also wish to consider Goodwill Partnership,, a low-cost, home visit solicitor-provided will service, whom we have partnered with and who work with various charities throughout England and Wales.  

Making a bequest to the College is a simple matter:

  • the words ‘The Master (or Keeper) and Fellows of Peterhouse in the University of Cambridge’  (England & Wales Registered Charity No. 1137457) will identify your wishes;
  • the position of your Trustees can be safeguarded by the words: ‘I direct that the receipt of the Bursar or other proper officer for the time being of the College shall be a full discharge to my Trustees who shall not thereafter be concerned as to the application of this gift’.

There are a number of ways of making a bequest:

  • through a Pecuniary Bequest: this involves the leaving of a specified sum of money to a named beneficiary. This form of legacy is very simple to arrange, but has the disadvantage that its value is likely to be eroded over time by inflation;
  • through a Residuary Bequest: this involves the leaving of the residue of an estate, after all other legacies have been paid and other expenses have been met, to one or more named beneficiaries; or the sum to be left to any one beneficiary can be expressed as a percentage of the whole estate. In this case there is no question of erosion of the value by inflation, since, as an estate increases in value, so too does the residue;
  • through a Reversionary Bequest (Bequest subject to a Life Interest): this is an excellent way of providing both for your spouse, relatives or other named beneficiaries in their lifetime, and of benefiting the College in due course. It involves the leaving of assets to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries, to enjoy throughout their life; on their death, the whole or a specified proportion will pass (‘revert’) to the College;
  • through a Bequest in Kind (Specific Bequest): it is possible to leave gifts in the form of property, valuables, works of art, or stocks and shares to the College, either on the understanding that they be retained or so that they can be sold and the proceeds devoted to other purposes.

All such gifts can qualify for  inheritance tax relief:

If you give 10% of the net value of your estate to charity the rate of inheritance tax is reduced from 40% to 36%. (  The net value of an estate, also known as the baseline for inheritance tax, is the value of the estate after the nil-rate band (£325,000) and any other exemptions and reliefs have been deducted, but before the gift to charity has been made. The rate of inheritance tax will be reduced from 40% to 36% and the amount of your estate that is subject to inheritance tax will also be reduced (gifts to charity are not subject to inheritance tax). This in effect reduces the cost to the estate of the 10% gift to 4% - and HMRC pays the difference. There is a worked example here: