«What you have done in your life lives on» - Karlheinz Böhm (1928-2014)

Karlheinz Böhm legt Hand auf die Schulter eines Äthiopiers

«In Ethiopia, I found the sense and purpose of why I was born: To be there for other people and make a difference. » – Karlheinz Böhm (1928-2014)

Inheritances and legacies

“What you have done in your life lives on,” said Karlheinz Böhm (1928 – 2014), the founder of Menschen für Menschen. “My children, my work – that will continue my life in a certain way, without me having to be there for it.”

What traces do I want to leave behind? These are probably the questions most people ask themselves. Still, many find it difficult to make a will. But it is a comforting feeling to know that you have arranged everything for your loved ones in a self-determined way.

In every sixth will in Switzerland, charitable organisations are also favoured. Some supporters of Menschen für Menschen also strive to ensure that their humanitarian commitment continues to have an impact in the future. The easiest way to do this is with a bequest. Whether large or small, testamentary donations are very important for Karlheinz Böhm’s Ethiopia Aid. They enable a long-term commitment to the life prospects of particularly poor families.

The new inheritance law

The change in Swiss inheritance law came into effect on January 1st 2023. Anyone who has something to bequeath will thus be given more scope for structuring their estate. Inheritance law regulates so-called compulsory portions for spouses and children. The compulsory portions are expressed in fractions of the entire estate. You dispose of the rest of your estate yourself by will: With the so-called “free quota”, you make use of your freedom to design beyond your life according to your will.

The reform of inheritance law strengthens the “free quota” (see FAQ’s): the compulsory portions for descendants shrink to half of their statutory share of the inheritance. Previously it was three quarters.

Why do I need a will?

With a will, you can determine yourself within the framework of the basic rules of inheritance law what should happen to your assets and give special consideration to people who are particularly close to your heart. And you have the opportunity to make a legacy to create something good and lasting in addition. Without a will, your legacy will be distributed according to the statutory provisions or, in the absence of beneficiaries under the inheritance law, will fall to the state. A will can be supplemented, amended or revoked at any time by yourself or by a notary.


What is a legacy?

A legacy is a share of assets with which the testator wishes to give consideration to a person or a charitable organisation. It can consist of a certain amount of money, valuables or real estate.

A will can be amended, changed or cancelled at any time, either by the testator himself or by a notary.


How to give a gift for the future

If you want to include the foundation Menschen für Menschen in your will, the following options are open to you:

Legacy or bequest
This is the simplest way in which you can support our organisation: You specify an amount, a tangible asset, an object, a property or a percentage of your assets.

Joint heir
You bequeath a quota of your assets to the foundation and make the organisation a co-heir. Suggested wording for your will: “I appoint the foundation Menschen für Menschen Schweiz as joint heir.”

Sole heir
If you have no relatives entitled to inherit your estate, you are free to appoint the Foundation as your sole heir.

Eine Frau unterzeichnet ihr Testament

The most important thing at the end: Your signature

How do I write a will?

  1. Draw up an overview of your assets.
  2. Take your time to think about whom you want to benefit in your will.
  3. Determine which persons and charitable institutions you wish to consider entitled to inherit your estate and the amounts, valuables and objects involved. In doing so, you must observe the compulsory portions. It is advantageous to seek advice on the basic rules from a neutral specialist.
  4. Draft your will. Your will must be written by hand from beginning to end and bear a title such as “Will” or “Last Will and Testament”. It is important that you write the will with the place and date and with your signature.
  5. It is best to have your will checked by a specialist (notary, lawyer) to ensure that all legal requirements have been observed. In this way you can prevent disputes in the execution of the will.
  6. Deposit your will in a safe place, for example with a person you trust, with your civil law notary or with the relevant official body. This is often the community of residence. It is best to enquire at your local authority.


Create a will online

With just a few clicks you can find out about your personal situation. With the simple questionnaire, you can create your will online right away.

Create your will



Helping instead of pity

With a legacy to the foundation Menschen für Menschen, you are creating a humane future and enabling justice for many young people beyond their own lives. “Helping instead of pity” was the request of our founder Karlheinz Böhm. With your contribution you help to shape this work. Thank you very much!

Do you have questions about our work in Ethiopia? Would you like more information about the settlement of your estate? Then please contact us without obligation. We will treat your inquiry confidentially and will be happy to provide you with more information.

Your contact person:

Claudio CapaulClaudio Capaul
Responsible Legacies
Menschen für Menschen
Phone +41 (0)43 499 10 60

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