Your Will and ‘Charitable Bequests’

Published 01 Apr 2020

Specialist lawyers in estates and wills in Australia are being encouraged to ask clients if they would like to include a gift to charity in their will – but some are concerned about bringing it up. According to Include a Charity (IaC), 65% of Australians said it was OK to ask the question. Reports estimate that charities could receive at least $1 billion more each year if lawyers took the time to ask their clients if they would consider charitable bequests.

Charitable gifts are a good idea

According Principal lawyer at KCL Law, Jennifer Maher, this tactic works well.

"Where I have raised leaving gifts in wills for charities, it is very well received, more often well received by those who are a child-free couple or who have a well-known relationship or history with a charity," Maher shared with LawyersWeekly. "Clients appreciate that a gift can be made which would not affect the moral obligation to their beneficiaries, which allows them to leave a small legacy."

IaC's research suggested that a third of Australians indicated they would consider including a bequest to their favourite charity. However, only 1 in 12 currently do, because "solicitors rarely ask clients about charitable bequests."

Maher said some lawyers may not be "versed in the practise of philanthropic giving," and also suggested that there is a lack of understanding as to how to provide philanthropic benefits under a will.

Australia behind the UK

According to IaC, gifts in wills are often a primary source of funding for many charities. However, figures from the latest Pareto Fundraising benchmarking analysis suggested that bequests accounted for only 20% of fundraising income in 2018.

A U.K. study indicated the number of charitable gifts increased from 4.9% to 10.8% when solicitors actually asked clients about philanthropic gifts. Research from IaC showed that donations in wills in Australia are about 10 years behind the U.K.

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Thinking about drafting a will? The experienced team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers have years of experience with contesting wills and inheritance disputes. We know how to execute your will so it is contest and challenge resistant. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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