Legacies

Your V&A: your legacy.

If you believe that a love of creativity is innate in all of us, leaving a gift in your Will is a wonderful way to ensure everyone can experience the wonders of the V&A long into the future.

Whether you enjoy visiting our world-class exhibitions with friends, learning about the stories of objects, or simply love our museums as places where anyone can find inspiration – the V&A belongs to us all.

Wherever you find joy at the V&A, you can share it with future generations by leaving a gift in your Will. We are extremely grateful for each and every legacy gift we receive – thank you for considering supporting us in this special way.

To help you plan a meaningful legacy, or to request a hard copy of our legacy brochure, speak to:

Emma McCormack, Head of Legacy Giving
e.mccormack@vam.ac.uk / 020 7942 2885

Directing your gift

You can choose whether a legacy donation supports a specific department, an activity close to your heart, or simply wherever the need is greatest at the time. Contact our Legacy team to ensure that your wishes can be met.

Your gift could:

  • Enrich our collections by acquiring significant objects – from delicate miniatures or rare eighteenth-century gowns, to mid-century chairs and sacred sculpture
  • Enhance knowledge and understanding of our collections by funding curatorial posts and research projects
  • Conserve our collections to ensure that they can be enjoyed for generations to come
  • Preserve and develop our historic buildings as well as create new sites reaching wider audiences
  • Deliver world-class exhibitions that inspire learning, provoke emotion, spark debate and reveal beauty
  • Develop our free resources such as the National Art Library and Explore the Collections, so members of the public can enjoy and study the collections in more depth
  • Connect with communities through our specialised learning programmes, giving vulnerable members of society the opportunity to create with us
  • Continue inspiring generations of art-lovers, thinkers, dreamers and makers long into the future
  • Keep our doors open for the public to enjoy the museum, free of charge, forever
Smiling woman stands in front of the V&A. She has short hair and wears glasses and a cream blazer

The V&A is my chance for escapism and excitement

Elizabeth Hamilton MBE, legacy pledger

Creating an impact

Legacy gifts from generous supporters have made a transformational impact on our work over the years. They have helped to reimagine spaces like Young V&A (the former Museum of Childhood), create the new Photography Centre at V&A South Kensington, and develop brand-new sites like V&A East and Storehouse.

Gifts in Wills have supported curatorial posts to increase our understanding of the collections and have also helped fund conservation work. Incredibly, over 36,000 objects in our collection have been acquired thanks to the amazing people supporting the V&A through a gift in their Will.

How to leave a gift in your Will

Writing a Will doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can take advantage of our free Will service, or find a qualified solicitor in your local area using the Law Society website.

Free Will service

We have partnered with Bequeathed, an online service that allows you to make your Will free of charge, from the comfort of your own home.

The process is simple:

  • Visit the Bequeathed website and follow the registration steps
  • Complete the online questionnaire to draft your basic Will
  • Attend a free 30-minute appointment with an accredited solicitor either by phone, video call or in-person

During your free appointment, a solicitor will check your Will and give legal advice to ensure that it reflects your wishes and fulfils your needs. If your circumstances are more complicated than a simple Will can cover, Bequeathed will provide a no-obligation quote for any additional legal work required. As they're regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), you can be confident that a Will from Bequeathed will protect your loved ones and ensure the things you've worked hard for go to the people and causes that you care about most.

There is no obligation to leave a gift to the V&A when using this service, but we hope you will consider leaving a legacy to help share the wonder of the V&A with future generations. Thank you for giving this some thought.

Types of legacy gifts

Residuary

A share of your estate after all other commitments have been settled. You can choose to leave your entire estate or just a percentage. Given inflation, this can be a good way to reflect your true intentions in the long-term.

Pecuniary

A gift of a specific sum of money. You may wish to protect this gift against the effects of inflation by asking your solicitor to ensure that it is index linked.

Specific gift (of an object)

If you are thinking of leaving an object to the V&A, start by speaking to a member of the Legacy team, so that our curators can advise whether we will be able to accept the gift.

We have a responsibility to protect and preserve the objects that are accepted into our collection in perpetuity, and we will never sell an object once it has been acquired. If you are planning to leave an object in your Will, please consider whether you might also be able to leave a pecuniary or residuary donation alongside your object to support the costs associated with caring for it.

For suggested Will wording, see our frequently asked questions.

Thank you!

We are very grateful to everyone who has pledged a legacy gift. The Henry Cole Circle is our group for generous supporters who have kindly included a gift to the V&A in their Wills.

Sir Henry Cole, the V&A's first Director, declared that the South Kensington Museum (as the V&A was known then) should be a "schoolroom for everyone". The museum's mission was to improve the standards of British industry by educating designers, manufacturers and consumers in art and science. Thanks to the visionary work of Sir Henry Cole in establishing the V&A, it is fitting that our legacy circle should take his name.

If you have already included a gift to the V&A we would be thrilled if you could let us know, so we can thank and welcome you to our Henry Cole Circle. As a Henry Cole Circle member, you will receive invitations to special events, updates on our work and have the chance to become even more involved.

Legacy events

We hold events throughout the year where you can find out about the Will-making process, and the impact of gifts in Wills. We also hold a Legacy Week every autumn. Visit our What's On page to find out the latest:

To stay up-to-date with the latest Legacy events, register your interest with our Legacy team by emailing: legacy@vam.ac.uk

Frequently asked questions

For any questions about leaving a gift in your Will, speak to our Legacy Team or read our frequently asked questions. Here you'll also find recommended Will wording and guidance for executors.

Header image: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London