Legacies

If you are thinking of leaving a donation in your Will to the V&A, thank you!

Donations in Wills provide vital financial support for the Museum and help us to protect the collection for future generations to enjoy, so we are extremely grateful for each and every legacy gift that we receive.

We are here to help, so if you would like your legacy to support a particular area of the collection (such as the Asia collection, jewellery, ceramics, fashion, photography, furniture) or the V&A’s education programmes, conservation work, research or exhibitions, or if you are happy for the V&A to use your gift where the need is greatest, we can provide you with all the information you need to ensure your legacy is used in the way that you would like it to be.

Below you can find more details about how your gift could help, wording that may be useful for your Will, information about the Museum’s charitable status and details about joining the Henry Cole Circle – our group of dedicated legacy supporters.

If you would like to speak to one of the V&A’s legacy experts or request a hard copy of our legacy brochure, please contact Julia Brown, Head of Legacy Giving, on 020 7942 2898 or email legacy@vam.ac.uk.

How gifts have helped

How gifts have helped

Gifts left to the V&A in Wills provide vital funding for curatorial research, exhibitions and conservation. Bequests small and large have made a huge difference to the Museum's work and have enabled our collection to grow – for example, the bequests made by Betty Saunders, Joan Jordan and Benjamin Rowlandson.

  • Betty Saunders had a successful career in the fashion industry, working with many luxury brands. She was also a dedicated volunteer and V&A Member. We wanted to honour her contribution to fashion, so used her bequest to acquire a beautiful 18th century dress. It is estimated to have been made in the 1770s, making it the earliest example of a printed gown in the V&A's collection.
  • Joan Jordan studied history of art at the V&A when she was young and wanted to enable a student who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to study at the Museum the opportunity to do so. In 2019, a student was able to start the V&A and Royal College of Art MA, thanks to Joan’s bursary.
  • Benjamin Rowlandson was a keen photographer and left an unrestricted residuary gift in his Will in 2020. We decided to use his legacy to help us build a new Photography Centre which will showcase our world leading photography collection.
Types of legacy

Types of legacy

There are three types of gift you can leave in your Will:

A Residuary Gift

This is a gift of all or part of the value of your estate, once all your other commitments have been settled. This is the most flexible way of supporting the V&A, as the value of your gift will adjust with the value of your estate. For example, 1% of your estate would make a big impact at the V&A.

A Pecuniary Gift

This is a gift of a specific sum of money (e.g. £1,000). You may wish to protect this gift against the effects of inflation by asking your Solicitor to ensure that it is index linked.

A Specific Gift (of an object)

If you are thinking of leaving an object to the V&A in your Will, please speak to a member of the Legacy team first so that our curators can advise whether we will be able to accept the gift.

The V&A has a responsibility to protect and preserve the objects that are accepted into its collection for all time. If you are planning to bequeath an object in your Will to the V&A please consider whether you might be able to leave a pecuniary or residuary donation in order to support the costs that are associated with caring for the collection.

Making a Will

Making a Will

By writing a Will, you can be sure that your family, friends and loved ones are provided for in the future, as well as your preferred charities.

Writing a Will doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can find a qualified solicitor in your local area using the Law Society website.

You can also take advantage of the V&A’s discounted Will writing service. The V&A has partnered with The Goodwill Partnership, enabling you to write a Will over the phone, or from the comfort of your home. Free home visits are conducted by a trained professional who then passes your instructions to a qualified solicitor to write your Will. The discounted price for a single Will is £108 + VAT.

To find out more call 0844 669 6148 and mention the V&A, or book an appointment online.

Reduce your inheritance tax

Gifts to charities are exempt from inheritance tax which means that leaving a gift to the V&A may help reduce your tax liability. If you leave 10% or more of the net value of your estate to charity in your Will, your estate will qualify for inheritance tax at the reduced rate of 36% rather than 40%. Everyone’s tax situation is different. Your solicitor will be able to tell you more about the ways charitable giving may reduce inheritance tax on your estate.

Will Wording

Will Wording

You may find it useful to give the following suggested wording to your Solicitor when preparing your Will:

Residuary gifts

"I give [state proportion e.g. one third] of the residue of my estate to the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) South Kensington London SW7 2RL absolutely for its general charitable purposes. My Trustees shall have no further duties relating to this benefit if they obtain the written receipt from the treasurer or other appropriate officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum."

Pecuniary gifts

"I give the sum of [amount in words] (£______ [amount in figures]) to the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) South Kensington London SW7 2RL absolutely for its general charitable purposes. My Trustees shall have no further duties relating to this benefit if they obtain the written receipt from the treasurer or other appropriate officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum."

We always recommend that you speak to a Solicitor when writing or amending your Will; they will be able to ensure that your wishes appear just as you want them, and can also advise you about Inheritance Tax.

Codicils

If you have already made a Will but would like to amend it to include a gift to the V&A you can simply download this codicil form, fill in your wishes and store it safely with your Will. You must sign the form in the presence of two independent witnesses. A beneficiary of your Will or their spouse or partner cannot witness your codicil.

Charity status

Charity status

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a charity and relies on your support. As a national Museum, we are exempt from registration with the Charity Commission under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011, and we do not have a charity registration number. Instead, we are regulated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). As a charity, all donations bequeathed to the V&A are exempt from inheritance tax, therefore a gift in your Will to the V&A may reduce the tax on your estate.

The registered address of the Victoria and Albert Museum is: Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, SW7 2RL

Events

Events

If you would like to join our next free event to discover how legacies make a lasting difference at the V&A, please email legacy@vam.ac.uk.

Henry Cole Circle

Henry Cole Circle

If you are considering leaving a gift to the V&A in your Will, we would love to hear from you so that we can help you with any information you need, and thank you personally.

Everyone who lets us know that they have included a donation to the V&A in their Will is invited to join the Henry Cole Circle. Members of the Henry Cole Circle receive an invitation to an exclusive annual lecture as well as regular updates about the V&A’s work in the Henry Cole Circle Newsletter, V&A Magazine and Annual Review.

If you would like more information about the Henry Cole Circle or how to leave a legacy please contact Julia Brown, Head of Legacy Giving, at legacy@vam.ac.uk or on 020 7942 2898. All legacy enquiries are treated in strict confidence.

Background image: Fruit, wallpaper, William Morris, about 1868 – 70, London, England. Museum no. E.3711-1927. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London