Bequests and legacies

Bequests and legacies

Make a bequest, leave a lasting legacy

Link your name with the history of the largest humanitarian movement of our time. By making a bequest to the ICRC, you take your commitment to helping victims of war and other situations of violence worldwide to a new level.

Why the ICRC?

Bequests are an essential part of our private funding. In 2013, they made up almost half of our total income from individual donors.

Leaving a legacy to the ICRC is an excellent way to ensure people get the aid they desperately need. It also means that your support for the values of solidarity and sharing will live on after you. Last year for instance, a bequest enabled the ICRC to finance a quarter of its relief operations in the south and central Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoons Bopha and Haiyan.

Making a bequest

Any type of property can be bequeathed or donated to the ICRC.

What can I bequeath to the ICRC in my will?

  • Money: this is what most people choose to bequeath.
  • Gifts in kind: real estate, jewels, works of art, furniture, collections, etc.
  • Securities: shares, bonds, etc.
  • Other assets: patents, royalties, etc.

What kind of bequest should I choose?

  • Specific bequest: You bequeath one or more specific items. It is important to specifically mention the item(s) bequeathed to the ICRC.
  • Residuary bequest: In the absence of a rightful heir, you can bequeath to the ICRC your entire estate after settlement of costs and any specific bequests.
  • Reversionary bequest: You leave what is left of your estate to the ICRC in the event that the original beneficiary dies, after settlement of the part of the estate that goes to the rightful heir, of all costs and of any other bequests.

Tax exemption

The ICRC is exempt from taxation on bequests in most Swiss Cantons. In the United States, Germany and France there are also tax exemptions.

How can I make a donation by bank transfer?

Find out how to make a donation by bank transfer, postal transfer or cheque.


Writing your will

Your will enables you to leave part of your estate to a cause you believe in. You can revoke or change it at any time.

How do I make a will?

The requirements for a will vary widely from one country to another. In Switzerland, for instance, a signed, dated, handwritten document, stating the place of signature, constitutes a valid will.

You should consult a professional, such as a notary public, lawyer, bank official or financial consultant, to make sure that the will says what you want it to and that it complies with the law, especially as regards the entitlements of family members.

How do I include the ICRC in my will?

Because the term "Red Cross" is open to a variety of interpretations, please make sure that you include your first name, last name, date of birth and address, as well as the name and address of the ICRC:

International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva

Please specify the kind of bequest and the item(s) bequeathed. Indicate the place and date of signature and, finally, please make sure you sign your will.

What kind of will should I make?

  • Holographic will: Written entirely in your own hand, this is the simplest kind of will.
  • Notarial will: Drawn up in the presence of two witnesses and before a notary or any other person empowered to do so, this document guarantees that your will complies with the law.

If you opt for a holographic will, you should take some precautions to ensure that your final wishes are respected.

Giving professional advice

If you are a notary, lawyer or wealth manager and you have clients who are currently planning their estates and looking for ways to perpetuate the values of solidarity and mutual support they hold dear, here is all the information you need to help them achieve this.

How to name the ICRC as a beneficiary in a will

Please ensure that the exact name and address of the ICRC appear in the will:

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
19 Avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva

Marie-Jo Girod

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