The will donation that always stays up to date

Regardless of whether you want to fight poverty, protect the climate, reduce animal suffering, reduce future risks or defend democracy, donating in your will is an attractive way of making an impact even after your death - and by selecting suitable projects, it can even be many times more effective than the average. There are a few things to bear in mind for this to succeed:

A will donation or legacy donation is a fixed donation to one or more charitable organizations that is paid out of the estate. It is exempt from inheritance tax. In principle, estate donations are of course a great thing: if I ever get caught out, then at least others who could really use my support should benefit from it.

But if you are thinking about legacy planning and want to maximize the impact of your donation, you often face a dilemma: If you are planning ahead, you hope that your death will be far in the future. But how can you know today which organizations will be able to make the most effective use of your donation after your death?

A separate agreement facilitates subsequent changes 

Our advice: If you are considering making a legacy donation to one or more of the organizations we recommend, please contact us in advance. To ensure that your legacy donation remains up to date, it may be easiest for you to designate Effektiv Spenden as the beneficiary of your planned legacy donation and enter into a separate written agreement with us, independent of your will. In this agreement, you can specify the organization(s) to which you would like your legacy donation to go.

The great advantage of a will that is kept as simple as possible plus a supplementary agreement: if something changes with the organizations we recommend or the topics we present, you only need to adapt the agreement instead of having to rewrite your will every time. Because regardless of whether you write your will by hand or have it drawn up with the help of a notary, the effort involved in changing it is always considerable.

Your last will and testament is always up to date

As soon as we have concluded a corresponding agreement with you, we will contact you once a year to discuss with you whether the agreement is still up to date, i.e. whether it matches our recommendations, and of course whether your wishes have changed in the meantime.

Of course, you may choose to direct your legacy donation to our Giving Funds rather than to individual organizations. In this case, we would select the organizations in the issue area that is most important to you. However, our funding priorities may change over time or new funds may be added. Again, it would be helpful for us to share information on a regular basis so that we can make adjustments as needed.

Because at the end of the day, it's all about making sure that what happens in your legacy donation is exactly what you wanted.

You will find answers to further questions in the following section. We are also available for a Personal consultation available. To do this, you can simply here or you can simply call us directly at +49 (0)30 / 260 355 19 .

FAQs

Who should draw up a will? And when?

Everyone should make a will at a time when they feel - and are - mentally and emotionally capable of making all relevant decisions effectively. This is called testamentary capacity. If this is not the case, the will is invalid. This means that you should not wait until you move into a nursing home or have your first stroke. Death can be very sudden, even for young people. A will gives the surviving dependants a starting point for administering the estate in the deceased's best interests - and thus provides guidance and security for all concerned.

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einer Erbschaft und einem Vermächtnis? Was bedeutet “vererben”, was bedeutet “vermachen”? (Only relevant to German donors)

Wer als Erbe eingesetzt ist, rückt direkt mit dem Erbfall – das heißt dem Ableben des Erblassers – in die Rechtsstellung des Erblassers nach im Wege der sogenannten Gesamtrechtsnachfolge. Er oder sie wird damit Eigentümer(in) aller zum Nachlass gehörenden Gegenstände, Inhaber(in) aller Forderungen und Rechte, aber haftet auch für Schulden des Erblassers.

Ein Vermächtnisnehmer wird demgegenüber nicht automatisch Eigentümer(in) desjenigen Gegenstandes, den der Erbe ihm oder ihr vermacht hat. Er oder sie hat vielmehr einen Anspruch gegen den Erben bzw. die Erbin auf Verschaffung des Eigentums hieran. Gegenstand eines Vermächtnisses kann dabei alles sein, was Inhalt einer Leistung sein kann. Üblicherweise werden neben konkreten Gegenständen etwa ein bestimmter Geldbetrag oder auch der „Inhalt“ eines Bankkontos vermacht. Gegenstand des Vermächtnisses kann bei einem sog. Quotenvermächtnis auch ein Bruchteil des gesamten Nachlasses sein, oder aber eine abstrakt beschriebene Gruppe von Vermögensgegenständen, wie etwa „das Barvermögen“. Die Vermächtnisnehmerin ist nicht Teil einer etwaigen Erbengemeinschaft und auch nicht zuständig für die Verwaltung des Erbes und kann ferner nicht für etwaige Schulden des Erben belangt werden – nur für solche, die unmittelbar dem Vermächtnis anhaften. Sowohl Erbe als auch Vermächtnisnehmer unterliegen grundsätzlich der Verpflichtung, Erbschaftssteuer zu bezahlen.

Was kann ich vererben? (Only relevant to German donors)

Du kannst dein gesamtes Vermögen vererben, allerdings gehen auch dir gegenüber bestehende Verbindlichkeiten / Schulden im Wege der Gesamtrechtsnachfolge auf deine Erben über. Dein Erbe bzw. deine Erbin tritt im Grunde vollständig in deine Rechtsposition ein – das versteht man unter der sogenannten Gesamtrechtsnachfolge.

Kann ich mit meinem Partner / meiner Partnerin ein gemeinschaftliches Testament aufsetzen? Wie funktioniert das genau? (Only relevant to German donors)

Ehegatten und Lebenspartner i.S.d. LPartG können ein gemeinschaftliches Testament errichten und profitieren dabei sogar von einigen Privilegierungen hinsichtlich der einzuhaltenden Form. Geschwister, Verlobte oder generell nicht verheiratete bzw. in einer eingetragenen Lebenspartnerschaft lebende Menschen können dagegen kein gemeinschaftliches Testament errichten, es bleibt dann nur eine Umdeutung in wirksame Einzeltestamente – sofern dies nach den Umständen des Einzelfalles möglich ist. Tatsächlich müssen bei einer gemeinschaftlichen Errichtung einige Dinge beachtet werden, hier sollte durchaus eine anwaltliche Beratung in Erwägung gezogen werden.

Why is Effektiv Spenden included in my will or legacy when it is actually important to me that the money reaches the organizations?

You can include Effektiv Spenden in your will in such a way that we are obliged to pass on your donation in your name to the organizations with which we work. We can also agree more details in a supplementary agreement. Designating Effektiv Spenden as your heir or for your estate instead of a specific organization also makes sense because your donation/bequest to us is not subject to inheritance tax. You do not automatically have this security if, for example, you directly benefit a charity based in the USA in your estate.

What happens if Effektiv Spenden no longer exists as an organization at the time of my death?

In this case, we cannot become a legatee. However, we have designated a successor organization in our articles of association, specifically the tax-privileged Stiftung fĂĽr Effektiven Altruismus e.V. (VR 35527 B), which may use our company assets directly and exclusively for charitable purposes. You can include a clause in the bequest that, in case of doubt, the bequest should go to this successor organization or to another charitable organization.

Do I have to have the will notarized by a notary?

No, a will or legacy does not have to be notarized in order to be effective. However, you must then comply with the statutory formal requirements. Very important: the will must be completely handwritten, i.e. handwritten and signed. It must also include the place and date of writing. Finally, you should state your full name, date and place of birth as well as the current address - also of those persons you wish to appoint as heirs or in whose favor you wish to establish a legacy, in order to avoid any doubts.

How can I enter changes?

If you want to make changes to a handwritten will/legacy, the easiest way to do this is to completely rewrite it and expressly revoke earlier versions in the new will/legacy. This way, in the event of your death, there is no doubt as to which is the current will/legacy.

Muss ich bei Erstellung meines Testaments etwaige PflichtteilsansprĂĽche beachten? Und wirken sich diese auf UES und eine etwaige Nachlassspende aus? (Only relevant to German donors)

Ja, das deutsche Erbrecht sieht vor, dass deinen Abkömmlingen, Eltern und deinem Ehegatten bzw. Lebenspartner, wenn du sie per Verfügung von Todes wegen aus der Erbfolge ausgeschlossen hast, gegen den/die von dir eingesetzten Erben ein Anspruch auf Zahlung eines Pflichtteils zusteht. Der Pflichtteil besteht dabei stets in der Hälfte des Wertes des gesetzlichen Erbteils. Wenn UES als Erbin eingesetzt ist, trifft uns damit zunächst – zusammen mit etwaigen Miterben – die Pflichtteilslast, das heißt die Pflichtteilsberechtigten können auf uns zukommen und ihren Pflichtteil verlangen. Du kannst allerdings selbst bestimmen, wer die Pflichtteilslast tragen soll, d.h. von wessen Anteil am Erbe etwaige Pflichtteilsansprüche erfüllt werden müssen.


Solltest du Fragen zur Gestaltung deines Testaments im Hinblick auf Pflichtteilsrecht haben, wende dich gerne direkt an uns und wir besprechen die Einzelheiten oder suchen gemeinsam anwaltliche UnterstĂĽtzung.

I am a German citizen but do not live in Germany. If I make a will now, which law applies? And can I influence this?

In principle, under German private international law, the law of the country in which the deceased had their habitual residence at the time of their death is decisive for succession upon death. However, you can also stipulate in your disposition of property upon death that succession is governed by the law of the country of which you are a national. However, a few things must be taken into account here. For example, your will must contain an express choice of law and it must be valid under the chosen law. In addition, you must actually hold the respective nationality either at the time of making the will or at the time of your death. Please contact us directly and we can discuss this or seek legal advice together.

Why is it important that I inform you if I have included you in my will/legacy?

So that we can keep you up to date with new developments in our portfolio and you have someone to contact if you have any questions.

Will I have to pay the German inheritance tax if I leave you an inheritance?

As Effektiv Spenden is a charitable limited company, estate donations to us are exempt from German inheritance tax. This applies both if you appoint Effektiv Spenden as your heir and if you make a bequest in our favor.

Can I specify who decides where the bequest should go?

You can do this in principle, but we would not recommend that you designate a specific person. If this person is no longer working for us, we may not be able to accept the legacy for this reason. We would be happy to include such details in a supplementary agreement, in which we can then also address the situation that the person you have named should no longer be working for us and how to proceed.

What could a concrete formulation proposal look like?

A concrete suggestion for the phrasing of your will, in which you leave a legacy to our benefit, could be as follows:

Place, date

Hereby, I, __________________________ (First Name, Last Name), born on _____________________ (Date of Birth), in ______________________ (Place of Birth), currently residing at _____________________ (Current Address), make the following provision in the event of my death: 

I appoint __________________ (First Name, Last Name), residing at ________________ (Current Address), (& __________________ (First Name, Last Name), residing at ________________ (Current Address)) as heirs.

To the UES - Non-Profit GmbH for Effective Giving, located at MĂĽllerstraĂźe 138D in 13353 Berlin, I bequeath _____________________ (subject of the legacy). Should it cease to exist at the time of the legacy's accrual, I specify that instead, the current successor organization shall be favored (substitute legatee).

I hereby revoke all my previous wills in their entirety.

________________________________________

First and last name

Please note that this is only a suggestion and that you must transfer the text in its entirety by hand, and that this wording suggestion and the FAQs as a whole cannot and should not replace legal advice. Should you contact us as sole heir the will could be worded as follows:

Place, date

Hereby, I, __________________________ (First Name, Last Name), born on _____________________ (Date of Birth), in ______________________ (Place of Birth), currently residing at _____________________ (Current Address), make the following provision in the event of my death: 

I hereby appoint UES - GemeinnĂĽtzige GmbH fĂĽr effektives Spenden, MĂĽllerstraĂźe 138D in 13353 Berlin as my sole heir.

I hereby revoke all my previous wills in their entirety.

________________________________________

First and last name

If we are to be considered together with other heirs, you could formulate your will as follows:

Place, date

Hereby, I, __________________________ (First Name, Last Name), born on _____________________ (Date of Birth), in ______________________ (Place of Birth), currently residing at _____________________ (Current Address), make the following provision in the event of my death: 

I hereby appoint UES - GemeinnĂĽtzige GmbH fĂĽr effektives Spenden, MĂĽllerstraĂźe 138D in 13353 Berlin and __________________ (first name, surname), residing at ________________ (current address) as my heirs.

I hereby revoke all my previous wills in their entirety.

________________________________________

First and last name

What could a supplementary agreement (Zusatzvereinbarung) look like in concrete terms?

What we set out in the supplementary agreement (Zusatzvereinbarung) can be determined freely and individually - always within the limits of what is legally permissible, of course.

It is a good idea to record your wishes regarding the following aspects: Should the amount bequeathed to us be used in a specific area based on current needs, or should it go to one or more specific organizations from the beginning? Where should the money go if the organization no longer exists or the issue has changed? Or should the bequest or legacy be used for a specific purpose and you leave the actual implementation, i.e. the allocation to the appropriate subject areas and organizations, to us? 

It will probably be easiest for us to discuss this in more detail. Based on our conversation, we could then come up with a concrete wording proposal that you can then adapt and change as you wish.

Any questions? Feel free to contact me!

Stefan Shaw Avatar

Founder & Head of Donor Advisory

If you still have questions, simply make an appointment with me and we can discuss your questions on the phone or in a video call.

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