The following discussion will distinguish each type of bequest and provide sample suggested language that your attorney may refer to, if needed, to create your bequest. These examples are very general in nature. Your attorney will help you determine exactly what your intent is and then draft specific language that accomplishes your wishes.

As a starting point, our legal name for bequest purposes is set out in the next paragraph. The second paragraph contains suggested wording to assure that the bequest is available for unrestricted use by VMFA. If you prefer to restrict your bequest to a specific area of interest, you, your attorney and VMFA would need to identify and appropriately word such a restricted bequest so that it will be available exclusively for that purpose.

  1. Bequests to benefit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts commonly referred to as VMFA should be made to the: "Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation, (Fed. Tax ID# 51-0205333), located at 200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220, if it is an Internal Revenue Code section 501(c )(3) organization at the time of my death (or its successor in interest)." *
  2. Whichever bequest format is used we encourage our donors to make the bequest unrestricted so that the bequest be available for whatever the greatest funding need is as determined by the VMFA Director and Chief Operating Officer and VMFA Foundation Board of Directors. Unless you intend to make a restricted bequest, we request that your beneficiary designation incorporate the following statement: "This is an unrestricted gift and may be used to further the objects and purposes of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation."

Four Types of Bequests Distinguished and Suggested Wording

  1. The most common bequest is a general bequest (and sometimes a specific request). 

    The General bequest provides a precise dollar amount to be paid from general estate assets rather than from any particular account or source.
    Example: (General)
    I, _______________________, bequeath the sum of ____________Dollars to the ___see above for proper wording*________________________.

    The specific bequest provides for the bequest of specifically identified property.
    Example: (Specific)
    I, _____________________, give, devise and bequeath the following described property to the ____see above for proper wording*___________: This property is known and described as ________________________.

  2. A second type of bequest is a percentage bequest which will provide a % of your estate to the VMFA Foundation.
    Example: I, ____________________, bequeath to the _________see above for proper wording*___________an amount equal to ________percent of the net value of my estate as finally determined for federal estate tax purposes.
  3. A third type of bequest is the residual bequest. This bequest bequeaths assets that remain in the estate after all other bequests as well as any tax or administrative costs have been paid. It is common to split the residuary estate on a percentage or fractional share basis among multiple beneficiaries.
    Example: I, _________________, devise the residue (all, a percentage or fractional share) of my estate, after the satisfaction of all specific bequests and the payment of all taxes and other costs attending to my death, to ______see above for proper wording*________.
    If there are multiple residual beneficiaries caution must be exercised to assure that the percentages add up to 100% or fractional shares add up to one.
  4. The fourth type of bequest is the contingent bequest. This type of bequest devises property only when those designated as primary beneficiaries predecease the will's creator or waive or disclaim their bequest.
    Example: In the event that (name of the primary beneficiary) does not survive me, I,______________, designate ______see above for proper wording*__________as the devisee of this bequest of (specify the amount in dollars, percentage or fractional share of the estate or clearly identify and describe the property that is the subject of the bequest).
    Should you or your attorney have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marie Hawthorne, Senior Development Officer, at 804.340.1335.