Legacy gifts play a crucial role in supporting strategic activities and strengthening our independence. Throughout our history, Fellows and friends have contributed to the work of the British Academy by leaving legacies in their wills. Their foresight and generosity has allowed us to plan for the future with greater security and flexibility, to support academics throughout their careers and bring research to bear on key policy issues.

A legacy for learning

The development fund

Legacy gifts are extremely valuable, as they enable Fellows and friends to give significant sums to the Academy without immediate cost. Gifts directed to the British Academy’s development fund are important in providing flexible resource for the long-term independence and success of the Academy’s priorities and the disciplines it supports. As such, all legacy donors supporting the development fund will be recognised in perpetuity as generous supporters of its core mission.

Tax incentive

The British Academy is a registered charity; as a result any gift to the Academy is tax free, and may reduce the tax burden on your estate. In addition, charitable gifts totaling at least 10% of the taxable portion of your estate qualify your estate for a 10% tax break.

Types of gifts

There are a number of ways in which you can leave a legacy to the British Academy, depending on your own personal circumstances and intentions.

  1. Residuary legacy – give the whole or a proportion of your estate to the British Academy once all specific legacies, debts and expenses have been settled. A residuary legacy by its nature keeps track with inflation, as it is not a fixed sum.
  2. Reversionary legacy – enable your specified family or friends to retain your estate for their lifetime, before passing it on to the Academy.
  3. Pecuniary legacy – make a monetary gift of a fixed sum (which could be indexed to RPI to sustain its value over time).
  4. Specific legacy – give assets such as property or shares.

Making your will

In every case we strongly advise you to seek legal advice in writing your will to avoid unforeseen complications. To help you with your planning, the Academy offers a free will-writing service through membership of the National Free Wills Network, and a free online will-writing service through Farewill.  Whatever type of legacy you have in mind, and whatever stage your current thoughts are at, we would be happy to discuss them with you in confidence.

National Free Wills Network

The Academy offers a free, simple will-writing service through the National Free Wills Network. Your name and address are sent to the network via the Academy, and the Network will send details to you of local solicitors in your area participating in the scheme. 


Farewill offers a complete online will-writing service, with all wills checked by experts to ensure their suitability. For a small annual fee you can also make unlimited revisions to your will.

To make a free will under the Academy's partnership, visit Farewill and enter the code britishacademy100 on completion.

Get in touch

For more information, please contact Jennifer Hawton – 0207 969 5258.

Alternatively, you can write to us at the usual address.

The British Academy is a registered charity, number: 233176.

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