© Simon B. Opladen

Leave something meaningful            behind with a bequest.                            All you need is a pen. 

Make a difference, even beyond your own lifetime.
© Simon B. Opladen

Did you know that in addition to including your relatives and loved ones in your will, you can also include a charitable organization such as Helvetas? We use these donations to carry out projects that help disadvantaged people live with a sense of security and dignity.  

Despite the significant progress made in the last several decades, too many people still lack access to water and enough to eat. Clean water and ample nutrition are necessities for children to grow properly, attend school, and learn a profession, and in turn to help create opportunities for their own children.

At Helvetas, we firmly believe that a life free of poverty is possible. This is what we strive for – and what you make possible.

See this brief checklist about the most important points to consider when creating your will.

You can calculate your estate using the DeinAdieu will calculation tool.

In just a few clicks — and anonymously — you can find out more about your personal giving capacity.


Would you like to talk to someone directly? I’m here to help.

All conversations are non-binding and confidential. If you would like to learn more about Helvetas and our work helping disadvantaged people, I would be happy to provide your with any information, which I can also send you.

© Maurice K. Grünig
Legacy Manager and Philantrophy
Karin Wecke

At Helvetas, we firmly believe that a life free of poverty is possible. This is what we strive for – and what you make possible.

With a tax-free bequest to Helvetas, you leave a legacy that creates hope for a better, more just world.

An explanation of the most important terms:

A will is a document expressing you final wishes. In Switzerland it must be written on simple paper, from start to finish. At the end of the text, the will must also be hand-signed, including the place and date.

A bequest is a donation (of items or money) from your estate to a person or an organization (such as Helvetas) made by you personally during your lifetime. The gift is made free of charge, meaning that you do not receive any consideration in return from the party that receives the bequest.

With a legacy — also known as bequest — you provide in your will that a specific person or organization will receive a specific item or sum of money from your estate. This person or organization is called a legatee. The legatee does not thereby become an heir or form part of the community of heirs. The bequest can also be made before the rest of the estate is settled and the community of heirs is dissolved.

If you find yourself in an unexpected state of ermergency (at risk of death) that prevents you from drawing up a will by your own hand, you may draft an emergency will. This kind of a will is subject to specific provisions and its period of validity is limited.

An inheritance contract allows you to make binding arrangements for your estate together with other persons (e.g., your spouse or children), which you have negotiated individually with each contracting party. An inheritance contract cannot be amended without the consent of the other contracting parties.

A public will — also known as a public last will and testament — is a “normal” will in terms of its content. Your last will is written up by a certifying officer (i.e., a notary). Two witnesses must confirm to the notary that the content drafted by the notary corresponds to your last will and testament.

The estate is the whole of the assets that a person leaves behind after their death.

The mandatory portion refers to the non-retractable portion of an inheritance to which a person may be entitled under the law. The law establishes who is entitled to a mandatory portion, and it also defines the size of the share of the inheritance thereby due to certain individuals (e.g., to the spouse and children). Only direct descendants, a spouse, or a registered partner are entitled to a mandatory portion. All other individuals (including siblings) may not claim a mandatory portion. If you wish to include someone within the mandatory portion of your estate, you must explicitly state this in your will.

You are free to dispose of this part of your estate as you see fit. For example, if you do not have any children and you have placed your spouse within the mandatory portion, you may freely distribute the remainder of the estate, meaning that you may bequeath this part (for example, to friends or to an organization).

The law establishes who is an heir. Legal succession is thus based primarily on consanguinity; however, a testator may derogate from this type of succession.

A testator names such an individual or organization an heir in their estate; this requires clear instructions from the testator.

Certain legal heirs may claim a mandatory portion: the testator’s direct descendants, spouse or registered partner, and, under certain circumstances, the parents. This mandatory portion may not be taken away from such individuals.

You may name someone you trust as executor of your will. This person is responsible for paying debts out of the estate, distributing the portions of the estate, handling all fiscal and administrative tasks, and settling all matters with banks. The executor of the will must also prepare a distribution proposal. This person is entitled to a fee.

© iStock

Digital Estate

What happens to your digital estate after your death? Specialists in estate law share the information you need to know.