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Including a charity in your Will can help you leave a lasting legacy

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Attwood Marshall Lawyers Wills and Estates Lawyer, Natalie Comerford, discusses with Steve Stuttle on Radio 4CRB how you can include a charity you care about in your Will to support the vital work they do.

Introduction – Your Will; your wishes

The decisions you make about the assets you have worked hard to accumulate during your lifetime, and who you want to benefit from these assets when you die, is an extremely personal decision. Not everyone has family or loved ones they want to leave everything they own to in their Will. And for those that do, some people want to give beyond their family to ensure they leave an alternative, lasting legacy.

Leaving a gift to a charity in your Will can give you so much in return. When you give to charity, it is reported that you activate pleasure centres in the brain. Simply put, donating to charity makes you feel better, which is something we can all benefit from!

There are so many people in need of help and so many causes worth supporting. By donating to charities, you help others who need it most. You also create an opportunity to make a real impact on the causes you believe in or support. For example, if cancer has impacted you personally, or your loved ones, and you feel strongly about supporting cancer research so that future generations do not have to suffer in the same way, then perhaps donating to a cancer research charity is something you would like to do.

Many people are not able to give as generously as they would like to charities during their lives. The concept of giving to charity in their Will can present a wonderful opportunity to make a significant impact. Every little bit helps, no matter how much you give, charitable gifts can go a lot further than you realise.

How to leave a gift to charity in your Will

If you want to leave a donation to a charity in your Will, then having your Will drafted by an experienced estate planning lawyer will help you put your intentions in writing in a legally binding way.

Your gift does not necessarily have to be a monetary donation and it can be as small or as big as you want it to be. You can choose to leave a monetary gift, a percentage of your estate or other assets.

Charities are always grateful for any gift you choose to pass to them.

There are four different types of gifts you can leave to charity in your Will, including:

  • Residue of your estate: this is where you leave the remainder of your estate after first leaving gifts to your loved ones and having any payments deducted which includes your estate administration or funeral expenses.
  • Pecuniary or specific gifts: this is a specific donation you set out in your Will. It can be a monetary value, property, stock, or shares that you specifically gift to your chosen charity.
  • A percentage or a fraction of your estate: By gifting a percentage of your estate, this takes into account changing values of your estate which can occur due to property fluctuations, inflation, or changes to your investments over time.
  • Leaving your whole estate: In most cases, this happens when a person doesn’t have any family or other preferred beneficiaries they wish to benefit from the estate. People may also choose to leave their entire estate to charity when they want the charity to achieve something very significant with their gift.

Ensuring your wishes are upheld

There is a lot to take into consideration when you are appointing beneficiaries in your Will, and that includes leaving gifts to charities.

It is important to consider how your choices will impact your family and any other significant people in your life.

If someone has surviving family members or close relatives that have not been provided for adequately in their Will, there could be a risk of that person, or persons, contesting the Will.

A Will-maker has a moral duty to provide for certain family members, and if they do not draft their Will appropriately, taking into consideration their obligations, their intentions for who they wish to benefit from their estate may not come to fruition.

An experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to help you understand your legal obligations, while using the best strategies to ensure your wishes are upheld after you are gone.

By having your Will and other estate planning documents in order, such as an Enduring Power of Attorney, superannuation nominations, Advanced Health Directives, you can save your family significant money and emotional turmoil that goes with resolving disputes through the courts or lawyers when the time comes to make decisions regarding your estate.

Read more: Contesting a Will by bringing a Family Provision Application

Community Wills Days

Attwood Marshall Lawyers are proud to partner with several important and hard-working charities that help people and save lives. Through these partnerships, we host Community Wills Days throughout the year.

Community Wills Days are such a great initiative to help people draft legally binding Wills and support the vital work these charities do.

We are proud to partner with:


When someone registers to attend a Community Wills Day, they pay a nominal booking fee that goes directly to the charity. In return, they sit down with a qualified lawyer who will draft a professional and legally binding simple Will.  

Community Wills Days are a great way to connect with the community. Our experienced estate planning lawyers donate their time to help people plan, protect, and preserve their wishes. They love being able to support these essential charities and the paramount work they perform.

Appointments for Community Wills Days book out extremely fast. This shows us that the community identify the importance of having an up to date and legally binding Will, and that they love the idea that they can support a charity during the process.

Community Wills Days also present the opportunity to leave a gift in your Will to a charity of your choice, with an estate planning lawyer helping you apply the correct wording in your Will to ensure your wishes are upheld. 

Attwood Marshall Lawyers can help you plan, protect, and preserve your wishes

By having an experienced estate planning lawyer assist you with drafting your Will, you can have peace of mind in knowing that the document meets all the necessary legal requirements and that you are mitigating the risk of anyone contesting your Will.

Our friendly team can talk you though the process and draft the document to give consideration to your unique personal circumstances, the assets you have, and how best to structure them to ensure the wealth you have built up goes to who you want to benefit from them after you have gone. If you’d like to leave a gift to charity, we can help you document your wishes!

To find out more about any of our Community Wills Days, or to discuss your estate planning needs with an experienced and reputable Wills and Estates Lawyer, contact Department Manager Donna Tolley on direct line (07) 5506 8241, email dtolley@attwoodmarshall.com.au, or free call 1800 621 071 any time. You can also book an appointment online at your convenience.

Learn more about the charities and clubs Attwood Marshall Lawyers support.

Read more articles like this one:

(Left to right) Attwood Marshall Lawyers Zoe Penman, Donna Tolley, Natalie Comerford and Xara Coassin with Australian Cancer Research Foundation Planned Giving Manager, Lee Christian.
(Left to right) Attwood Marshall Lawyers Zoe Penman, Donna Tolley, Natalie Comerford and Xara Coassin with Australian Cancer Research Foundation Planned Giving Manager, Lee Christian at the Community Wills Day at Attwood Marshall Lawyers' Coolangatta office on Tuesday 4th May 2021.
The Salvation Army Bequests Manager, Tony Welsh (left_ with Attwood Marshall Lawyers' Romy Garrett, Natalie Comerford, Rhiannon Garrett, Donna Tolley and Zoe Penman, with Salvation Army representative Ron Southall at the Gold Coast Salvation Army Temple, Southport on Tuesday 10th November 2020.
The Salvation Army Bequests Manager, Tony Welsh (left) with Attwood Marshall Lawyers' Romy Garrett, Natalie Comerford, Rhiannon Garrett, Donna Tolley and Zoe Penman, with Salvation Army representative Ron Southall at the Gold Coast Salvation Army Temple, Southport on Tuesday 10th November 2020, all set for Community Wills Day.

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