The idea of leaving a legacy to charity in your will that helps
those who are less fortunate is certainly an attractive one.
Getting your charitable gifts just right in your will can make
things easier for everyone concerned after you have passed away.
This article explores the gift (and the style) of giving.
WHY GIVE TO CHARITY VIA YOUR WILL?
If we put aside the obvious concept of karmic realignment, or
its portioning out by the cosmos, leaving charitable gifts in your
will can be of major benefit to those in need either of a helping
hand or to enable charitable organisations to keep helping.
Even if a charity is the last in the list of beneficiaries under
your will, it can be a masterstroke to leave the residue of your
estate to charity. This is because life does not always pan out as
we hope. There is the possibility that either some or all of the
gifts to your beneficiaries may fail due to one cause or another.
This may leave you dying partly or wholly intestate. The outcome of
a situation such as this could be none of your wishes being
complied with, or delay, expense and inconvenience to those left
At Swaab, we work with many charities who have received major
and minor testamentary bequests. It is heart warming to see the
difference that such gifts can make. Indeed, many of the charities
that we work with are wholly dependent on philanthropic and
charitable gifts, with no Government funding at all. Without such
gifts, much lifesaving work could not be done.
GOING TO GIVE? GIVE RIGHT
There are several things to get right when you and your lawyer
get together to discuss which charity will make it into your will.
Some of these issues include:
What is the charity's name?
The need to be precise in your will is extremely important to
make it as easy as possible for your family going through the
process. Is it a charity? Is it incorporated? What is their
Australian Business Number? All very important to make sure the
gifts go to where you want them to go.
Will they accept the gift?
Strange question? Definitely not. For a multitude of business,
taxation and independence reasons, charities do not always accept
either gifts, gifts over a certain value, or gifts of a certain
Does it, will it still exist? Trust your executor to
give for you.
The time between making the will and the time of the
administration of the estate will often be a long time. Therefore
it is possible the charity mentioned in your will no longer exists
or has changed its corporate structure or name. Giving your
executor to power to select a charity with the objects you find
most appealing can help reduce complexity of the administration of
MAKE YOUR WORD FINAL
In an embodiment of the above, below is a general form for a
binding gift to charity for a will.
I give to [insert charity name,
address and ABN]: (insert a, b, c, or d)
the sum of $............................ (or)
........................% of my estate (or)
........................% of the residue of my estate
the rest and residue of my estate
to be used by the administration
of the [insert name of charity] for general purposes and I direct
that the receipt of the Chief Executive Officer of the [insert name
of charity] or other apparently authorised body of the [insert name
of charity] will be sufficient discharge to my Executor(s) who
is/are not bound to see to its application.
Further, if you are minded to give your executor power to select
a charity, the below form might be suggested.
If the gift in [insert clause
number] cannot take effect completely or at all, to the extent that
it cannot take effect: to the charitable organisation or
organisations in Australia which my executors in their discretion
consider most nearly fulfils or fulfil the objects I intend to
benefit in the share or shares my executor(s) think fit
With the above in mind, make sure you speak to your lawyer when
writing a will. Everyone wants to make sure your last requests are
honoured, and professional drafting will help make your final word
If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
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