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Will standard clauses

Through the centuries, legacies and bequests have played a vital part in Oxford’s success. Many of Oxford’s colleges were founded through generous legacies and almost every part of the collegiate University has benefited from gifts in the wills of alumni, friends and supporters.

We do not give legal advice but the following may be helpful guidance:

  • Individuals resident in Switzerland normally make their will under Swiss law. However, if you are Swiss resident but not a Swiss national, you may make your will under the law of one of the states of which you are a citizen.
  • The will under a foreign law is invalid if you are no longer a citizen of the chosen state at the time of your death, or if you have acquired Swiss citizenship in the interim.
  • It is important in your will to appoint an executor to handle the affairs of your estate.
  • If you choose to make a will under Swiss law, the Swiss forced heirship rules will require you to leave a part of your estate to close family; a will made under another law may have different forced heirship rules or none at all (for example, English law).
  • Under Swiss law you may make your will in accordance with the formalities of Swiss law (for example, a holographic will where you write out your will by hand) or the foreign law formalities if you make a will under that foreign law.
  • You may leave a legacy of money or specific items (for example paintings) or a bequest of real estate to SFOU; however if the real estate is outside Switzerland, you may need to comply with the testamentary formalities of the state in which the real estate is located to ensure that the bequest is valid. If you are thinking of making a bequest of specific items or real estate, we encourage you to discuss this with SFOU.
  • Gifts of certain non-Swiss assets, such as real estate or shares, to SFOU may be subject to estate duties in the state where the assets are located even if you are only tax resident in Switzerland.

Model clause for a will under English law:

1. I GIVE free of inheritance and gifts tax the following legacy:

1.1. To SWISS FRIENDS OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY of Baarerstrasse 98, 6302 Zug, Switzerland (“SFOU”) [the sum of ……………….. SWISS FRANCS (CHF …………)] [the following property ………………………….] to be used [as the SFOU board considers appropriate] [for the benefit of [insert name of college or University faculty]] in accordance with SFOU’s articles of association.

For more detailed information on wills and estate planning as a Swiss resident, you should consult a professional adviser.