Stirling alumnus Paul Lewis is an award-winning financial journalist and broadcaster. On the occasion of our 50th anniversary, he shares his views on why alumni should consider leaving a legacy to the University.
On the face of it, you might question why Inheritance Tax is so unpopular. After all, when it is due you are dead and someone else pays it. The answer almost certainly lies with your heirs, who will more than likely end up hating it too if you are lucky enough to be able to leave them a valuable home worth over £325,000, the threshold from which Inheritance Tax applies in the main.
One of the nicer ways to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax due is to leave money to a charity close to your heart, such as our alma mater. This is taken from your estate without any tax being deducted and reduces the overall taxable amount that is left. I remember being shocked when I was a teenage Stirling undergraduate in the late 1960s to hear about the Foundation Fund Appeal. Surely the Government paid for universities? Of course it did and still does… to an extent. But there has always been a need for more funding, which Stirling puts to good use in many inspiring ways. Nowadays, one of the University’s main sources of extra funding is the legacies left by former students.
Putting the University in your Will is straightforward and you will be joining over 100 of your fellow graduates, who have informed the Advancement team of this intention. If you would like to leave a legacy, just add the University of Stirling to the list of gifts in your Will. The last six legacies alone have brought in more than £1.5m and if you gift at least 10% of the taxable amount of your estate, the overall tax rate for the rest of your estate is cut from 40% to 36%. That means a little less tax for the Government of the day and a little more to smile about for your heirs.