Remembering Robinson in Your Will

In spite of its relative youth, Robinson College has always been fortunate in the support that it has received from old Members and Friends. Without that support I am sure the College would never have become what it is today. Now, as never before, it needs the support of its Members and Friends to preserve its autonomy, to build on the developments of the past and to provide its current and future Members with the excellent facilities and opportunities for teaching, learning, research, living and recreation, as were enjoyed by those who studied here in earlier years.

Many colleges in Cambridge, with Alumni going back many generations, and even centuries, beyond the foundation of Robinson College, understand very well what a significant part legacies have played, and continue to play, in securing their financial stability. Bequests have provided them with invaluable resources including, for example, much of the cost of building additional student accommodation, maintaining and enhancing College buildings and grounds, hardship bursaries, scholarships and teaching posts. While all of us hope that legacies to the College from our Members and Friends are some years away from becoming a reality, we recognise the need for long-term planning. I am sure that we all also recognise that, for the sake of our peace of mind, especially where we have dependants, thoughts will invariably turn to ensuring that our financial affairs and responsibilities are in order and this will, inevitably, include the preparation of a Will. These web pages give a brief outline as to how your legacy could help Robinson College in the future. The College legacy brochure explains in more detail how your legacy could do this and how your support would help future generations of Robinsonians. To request one, please contact the Development Director on or If you have not been back to the College in recent times, I hope you will get in touch and pay Robinson a visit. We should be very glad to see you.

Prof David Yates, Former Warden of Robinson College

How your Legacy could make a difference

The College aims to use its existing resources with maximum efficiency; we also take care to maximise our income from other sources, such as our conference and catering business. Gifts by Members and Friends have contributed considerably to our present resources and, as a result of the inter-college "taxation" system within the University, Robinson receives generous support from other wealthier Cambridge colleges to sustain our current teaching provision in the shorter term and to begin to build our endowment.

The endowment is the College's financial bedrock; its capital provides security for the provision of excellent educational opportunities and facilities for future generations of Robinsonians, and its income is essential in offering those same opportunities and facilities for today's students, researchers and teachers. Your bequest would help to secure for future generations the excellent facilities and opportunities for teaching, learning, research, living and recreation at Robinson College that were enjoyed by those who studied here in earlier years.

Unrestricted Gifts

Unrestricted gifts help to increase the College's Endowment, and income from such gifts may be used for the College wherever the need is greatest in any given year. As you will appreciate, the needs of an educational organisation vary over time and it is very difficult to forecast the needs of Robinsonians in future decades, let alone centuries. You may, of course, earmark your legacy for specific areas of College life if you wish, but unrestricted gifts are of particular value since they provide the College with the necessary flexibility to make prudent decisions in the light of changing circumstances over the coming years.

If you would like to consider a gift to support a particular aspect of College life, the following pages give some examples that you might like to consider. Thank you for your support for current and future generations of Robinsonians.

Specific Gifts

If you wish to make a bequest for a specific aspect of College life, you might like to consider one of the following areas:

College Teaching
Student Support
The Chapel

Recognition of Bequests

It is possible to recognise bequests in a number of ways, including the naming of posts or facilities. If you would like to discuss such possibilities, please contact the Fellow Director of Development, who will be pleased to advise on this matter.

The Crausaz-Wordsworth Society was created to recognise the generosity and commitment of those who have pledged legacies to Robinson. Membership of the Society acknowledges those who have informed us of their intention to leave a legacy. Members are invited to return to Robinson annually for the Commemoration of Benefactors' Service and Tea and to attend other Robinson events, including Crausaz Wordsworth Society lunches.

Forms of Legacy in the UK

There are several forms of gifts that may be directed to specific areas of College life or for "the general purposes" of the College. Professional legal advice should be sought in deciding which is the most appropriate for you.

Pecuniary Legacy - This involves leaving a specified amount of money but can have the disadvantage that inflation may erode its value over the years. To avoid this, you can ask your solicitor to draft the gift so that it is index-linked and increases over the years in line with the retail price index.
Specific Legacies - You may wish to discuss with the College leaving a bequest in a non-monetary form, such as a work of art, a book, a piece of silver, stocks and shares, property, jewellery. In some circumstances you may wish to allow the College the freedom to sell valuables at some future date. It is important to clarify your intentions in this respect, as we would always wish to follow them.
Conditional Legacy - This is a gift that provides for the eventuality that, if none of your named dependants survive you, your estate will be left to other named beneficiaries, which could include the College.

Residuary Gifts

(a) A gift of the whole, or a percentage share, or a fraction, of the residue of the estate i.e. the amount that remains after other legacies have been paid and any debts, taxes and other charges met. This involves bequeathing part, or all, of the residue of the estate. It means that you do not have to decide exactly how much to give in monetary value, nor to be concerned about the effect of inflation.

(b) A gift of a reversionary interest. This is a variation on the above, which enables you to leave your estate to dependants for their lifetime, after which it reverts to the College.

The above is a summary of some methods of making a bequest. More detailed advice should be sought from a solicitor.

Examples of wording for different legacies are as follows:

For a Pecuniary Legacy

"I give free of inheritance tax x to The Warden and Fellows of Robinson College, of Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AN, an Registered Charity Number 1137494 [for its general charitable purposes][and I declare that the receipt of the Finance Bursar or other proper officer for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors]"

For a Residuary Legacy

"My trustees shall hold my/x share(s) of my residuary estate and the income thereof for The Warden and Fellows of Robinson College, of Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AN, Registered Charity Number 1137494 [for its general charitable purposes/the work and activities of the Robinson College chapel and chaplaincy/Robinson College teaching/Robinson College sport/Robinson College Research Fellowships/Robinson College student bursaries][and I declare that the receipt of the Finance Bursar or other proper officer for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors]"

If you have already made a Will, but would like to leave a gift to Robinson College, you may do so by simply making an addition to your existing Will. This is called a Codicil.

Tax Benefits

The above forms of gift are free of inheritance tax and therefore of particular benefit to the College; and may help to reduce the overall tax liability of your Estate, possibly benefiting other recipients of gifts under your Will.

At present, even a relatively modest estate may exceed the inheritance tax threshold and be liable to this form of taxation. By making a legacy to a recognised charity (of which Robinson College is one), it is possible to lower the tax liability on the estate. You should consult a solicitor specialising in Probate about the precise wording needed to ensure that your gift qualifies for tax exemption, particularly in the case of gifts from Residue.