“It’s never too early to take care of your last will”
Legacies and inheritances are a major source of funding for our Foundation. These valuable donations support the development of new projects and give us the freedom to invest where the need is greatest. The question of one's own will often remains delicate. Didier Buffat, a notary in the canton of Vaud for over 25 years, answers our questions.
Didier Buffat, notary
Mr Buffat, how do you write a valid will?
There are two ways of doing this. Either you write it out entirely by hand. In this case, you must write the place and date and sign it. This is called a holographic will or testament. Or you write it on your computer. In this case, for it to be valid, it must be signed before a notary in the presence of two witnesses.
What should be considered when writing a will?
When you write your will, it is important to check its content carefully and to be sure that it expresses your wishes. The heirs or legatees must be clearly named. I even advise adding the address of the heir or legatee. If you wish to leave a legacy to an association or foundation, it is ideal to add its federal registration number in the Commercial Register.
At what age should a will be written ?
It’s never too early to take care of your will, because unfortunately, accidents happen quickly. As soon as you reach the age of majority, it is important to think about your last wishes and to make a will.
To whom can you bequeath your assets ?
Your assets go to your heirs and legatees. Some heirs are determined by the Civil Code, such as the husband or wife and the children. Legatees are the people to whom you choose to give a sum of money or an asset. Even if you have heirs, the Civil Code still allows you to bequeath an amount to a third party such as a foundation.
If you want to perpetuate your support for children, what is the advantage of including Tdh in your will ?
If you wish to leave a sum of money to a cause that is close to your heart, writing it down in your testament will ensure that this is the case. Otherwise, very often, when you ask your heirs verbally to give part of the money to an association, this is not done, either because they forget or because they are selfish.
Another advantage is that an organisation like Terre des hommes is tax-exempt. This means that there will be no inheritance tax on the amount of money or property that is left to it. If you have no children, instead of a large part of the inheritance going to tax, it all goes to the foundation and without any tax deduction.
What can we leave to an organisation like Tdh ?
Terre des hommes is a foundation under Swiss law, registered in the Commercial Register. It is a legal person. It can therefore acquire anything. You can give it a sum of money, bank securities or real estate such as a house, a building or land. You can also make the foundation the beneficiary of a life insurance policy !
How can you ensure that your last wishes are respected ?
To be sure that your will is executed, I strongly advise you to consult a professional, for example a notary. He will be able to help you draw it up and, above all, keep it safe. Your testament will be registered in the Swiss Register of Wills. As soon as an estate is opened, this register is consulted. This way, you can be sure that your last wishes will be respected.
You can find more information on legacies and inheritances at www.tdh.ch/testament
Your contact for major donors, legacies and estates: Laurent Zbinden, Contact Major Donors, Legacies and Inheritance, email@example.com, T +41 58 611 06 81