Remember us in your will

Since 1980, Doctors of the World has been working tirelessly to care for the most vulnerable in more than 70 countries around the world. Recognized as a public interest organisation, Doctors of the World is authorised to receive legacies, donations and life insurance. Leaving a legacy to Doctors of the World is to extend one’s commitment. Beyond one’s own existence, one can remain faithful to the fundamental values of humanism: generosity, solidarity, and the fight against injustice.


A loving gesture in your will

A legacy is a provision in your will that allows you to decide to bequeath all or part of your estate to a person or an organisation, such as Doctors of the World. Only by drawing up a will are you able to specify your final wishes which can then be complied with. The will takes effect when you die and you can amend or cancel it at any time.


What can you leave to Doctors of the World?

If you have mandatory heirs (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, spouse, etc.), the French law protects them by blocking a part of the estate called the "reserve". The remaining portion is called the "residue". This is the portion available to you which you can bequeath to Doctors of the World. If there are no mandatory heirs, you can freely dispose of all your estate.

Because of your legacy and thanks to your generosity, we can:

  • Help the most vulnerable, innocent victims of violence or poverty.
  • In France, offer access to care to those who are excluded.
  • Enable all those whom the world is slowly forgetting to be cared for.


Your legacy to Doctors of the World is fully exempt from French inheritance tax. The assets that you bequeath will be transferred in full to our organisation and they will help to fund our programmes in France and across the world.


Three forms of legacies are possible 

Legacy “à titre universel”

You wish to give a share of all your assets or a category of assets.

Legacy “universel”

You bequeath all your assets to a person or an organisation. You can also set up several legatees.

Specific bequest

You bequeath a specific asset (the contents of a safe, a bank account, a savings book, etc.)





    Les legs représentent 10 % du budget de l’association

    The will

    A legacy to an association exists only if it is provided for in a will. It is necessary to opt beforehand for one type of will and, then, to observe certain precautions. So that the will is easily found after death, you can entrust it to a lawyer or send a copy to your legatee(s).


    Under French law, three types of will exist

    The authentic will

    It is effected by a notary in the presence of two witnesses, or by two notaries. This will is retained by the notary.

    The handwritten will

    It is handwritten, dated, and signed by the person making the will. It can be deposited with a notary.

    Sealed will

    The provisions of the will are written by the testator or another person, and then given by the testator to the notary, in a sealed envelope, in the presence of two witnesses. This type is not recommended because it does not allow the notary to check what is written and therefore to ensure the testator has drafted it properly and thereby enable effective execution of the will.

    Geneviève Remy

    A nurse

    I confirm my commitment to those working for this organisaiton of international solidarity, in their fight against any form of injustice, for dignity and human rights, and I will take this into account when I write my will.


    A donation consists in a person (the donor) transferring, whilst they are alive and irrevocably, the rights or ownership of an asset to another person (the beneficiary).
    The donation can take the shape of a sum of money, real estate, or any other object of value. It can only be for the benefit of certain organisations authorized to receive them, such as Doctors of the World.
    In accordance with the Law, the donation must be made via an authentic deed in the presence of a notary. The donation must not exceed the residue, if you have mandatory heirs.


    If you agree to make a donation in full ownership or in bare ownership, you will receive a tax receipt of the amount of the donation, deductible from your tax on income.


    There are several types of donation:

    Donation in full ownership

    The donor irrevocably donates an asset for the benefit of an organisation which assumes full ownership.


    Donation in bare ownership with reserve of usufruct 

    The donor donates property to an organisation while retaining the enjoyment of the property for him/herself or his/her spouse. He/she can thereby take advantage of this property by living there or by collecting rentals if it is rented out. Such a donation can also be part of a securities portfolio. On the death of the donor, Doctors of the World assumes full ownership of the property donated, without any formalities. The donor may therefore immediately and irrevocably decide to transfer a property whilst enjoying its benefits until the end of his/her days.


    Temporary donation of usufruct

    With this donation, the donor donates the benefits of usage of an asset, i.e. the income from a securities portfolio or the rentals from a property, for a minimum of 3 years. In addition to the obvious advantage for Doctors of the World which receives the income, this donation allows the donor to withdraw the full value of ownership of the asset donated from his/her taxable base for wealth tax purposes. In return, and whether the donor is or is not subject to wealth tax, a tax receipt for such a donation is not issued.

    Life insurance

    Life insurance is a savings contract enabling the payment, once the term of the contract has been reached or in the event of death, of capital or an annuity to yourself or to designated beneficiaries. Taking out a life assurance policy in favour of Doctors of the World is a simple, flexible, fast, and effective way of contributing to our activities to help the most vulnerable. Every Euro counts in enabling Doctors of the World to successfully carry out its projects completely independently and for the long term.

    You already have life assurance?

    Whatever your life assurance policy, you will have specified the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your policy in a specific clause. In order that the capital can be used to fund our activities, all you need to do is simply change the beneficiary clause to include Doctors of the World as the beneficiary of all or part of your policy. If you wish to send a letter to your bank or insurance company in order to amend the beneficiary clause, download here our letter format.

     Medical consultation at the healthcare centre in Marseilles © olivier Papegnies
    Medical consultation at the healthcare centre in Marseilles © olivier Papegnies

    Notaries’ web page

    As a notary, you are the indispensable link between your clients and Doctors of the World. For this reason, we have set up for you a web page where you can find all the documentation you may need in order to settle an estate in our favour. There you will also find information on the Congrès des notaires (Notaries’ Congress) at which we have a presence every year and also on our annual "Associations/Notaries” barometer.

    medical consultation in Nariño. © Nadia Berg
    medical consultation in Nariño. © Nadia Berg

    Answers to your questions



    Do I have to consult a notary in order to make a bequest to Doctors of the World?

    No, to make a legacy to an organisation, you are not obliged to call upon the services of a notary. You can write your own will and hand it to a trustworthy person or to the benefiting organisation that will keep it. However, we strongly suggest that you seek the advice of a notary and to register via the latter your will at the French central will register, so that it is easily retrievable.


    How do you handle the sale of real estate bequeathed to you?

    The objective is to always find the best price for the goods that we have to sell. Doctors of the World consistently has professionals estimate the value of real estate and calls upon the services of several real estate agencies. If we consider the proposals to be under-valued, we prefer to delay sale.


    I would like to bequeath you high value works. Do you take charge of selling them?

    When an estate consists of works of art or works of value, we ensure that these works are estimated at their fair value by calling upon specialists. The objective is always to get the best price so that we can fund our activities.


    I would like Doctors of the World to benefit from my shares and bonds for a given period of time.

    You can make a temporary donation of the benefit to Doctors of the World. Doctors of the World will have the dividends or interest for a minimum of 3 years. During this period, interest and dividends on these shares and bonds are excluded from your assets.


    I would like to donate my house to you but I still live there, do you have a solution?

    Nothing stops you from making provision in your will. You can donate your house to Doctors of the World during your lifetime, and reserve the benefits of using it or a simple right to use it and dwell there, i.e. specifically the right to live there.
    Depending on the situation and your ability to live or not to live in your home, Doctors of the World will become a part owner and will therefore be able to substitute for you in case of need and do what you can no longer do: maintain the garden or carry out works and even sell the house, but always, of course, with your agreement.


    I wish to take out life ainsurance for the benefit of Doctors of the World, however I would like to remain at liberty to change the beneficiary or to use the capital, is this possible?

    When you sign up to the life insurance policy, you remain at liberty to make any subsequent amendment. You can change the beneficiary and/or dispose of the capital at any time by informing the insurer.


    When I die, how will you be informed of the existence of the life insurance policy that I took out in favour of Doctors of the World?

    We are informed of the existence of a life insurance policy in favour of our organisation by letter from the insurance company or the bank with which the policy was taken out. To avoid any delay in communication from the insurer or the banker, you can, if you wish, inform us of its existence by letting us know the name of the company and the contract number. This information now no longer stops you from changing the beneficiary clause at any time, if you so wish.

    Contact us

    0 805 567 300 (free call)

    Catherine Bienvenu

    Contact form


    Global loader