From 6-12 September 2021 “Include a Charity Week” will take place. This year the campaign’s theme is “When Legends Begin”. So, what kind of legend are you? You can support a charity, or charities, by leaving a gift in your Will. It doesn’t cost you anything to do this and your gift does not happen until after you pass away. Including a charity in your Will is a wonderful way to support a cause you are passionate about and this initiative is a good reminder to update or make your Will, explains Attwood Marshall Lawyers Wills & Estates Partner, Angela Harry.
Include a Charity Week
Include a Charity Week is an initiative that first commenced in 2009. Aligned with the international legacy weeks across the world, “Include a Charity Week” raises the profile of charitable gifts in Wills.
Whether you are passionate about the world around you, the environment, animal welfare, or medical research, there are so many ways you can leave a lasting legacy by way of a gift in your Will.
Many people give to charities throughout their lifetime who they feel a strong connection with and believe in the charity’s purpose. However, we can’t always give as much as we would like and sometimes cash is hard to part with when you are struggling to pay your own bills and survive. Leaving a gift to charity in your Will can be a wonderful way to continue to support the charities that you believe in even after you are gone.
Research conducted in 2019 by Include a Charity found that the number of Australians leaving charitable gifts in their Wills was around 11%, noting a steady increase since 2016. The study also reported that the number of Australians considering leaving a charitable gift was around 21%.
There are over 100 charities represented by the Include a Charity Campaign, managed by Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), including The Salvation Army, a charity that Attwood Marshall Lawyers have proudly supported and partnered with for over 16 years.
“Include a Charity promotes charitable gifts in Wills to the Australian public on behalf of The Salvation Army and other charities that have signed up to be part of the campaign”, said Tony Welsh, The Salvation Army Wills & Bequests Relationship Manager.
“In the last five years, generous Australians have donated over $250 million to The Salvation Army through Wills and Bequests to give hope where it’s needed most. This critical funding supports major projects that profoundly impact individual lives, families, and communities, including the redevelopment of Darwin Red Shield Hostel and funding of Moneycare services in Newcastle, our Brisbane and Gold Coast Recovery Centres, and Street Level Mission for Homelessness, to just name a few.”
“Everyone can make a big difference to future generations by giving hope in your Will”, said Mr Welsh.
The Salvation Army provides accommodation for the homeless, relief for troubled families, dignity for the elderly, jobs for the unemployed, counselling and support for those suffering alcohol or drug addiction, and so much more. The Salvos are there when people in crisis need them the most and every charitable donation helps support the work they do.
Fulfilling your testamentary intentions – get that Will done or updated!
A Will is one of the most important documents you can make to protect the assets you have worked hard to accumulate during your lifetime, as well as to provide for your family and other causes you may feel passionate about.
There are so many different ways you can structure your estate plan to fulfil your wishes and pass on your wealth. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you draft a Will that ensures who you want to benefit from your estate, will, whilst mitigating the risk of someone contesting your Will.
If you wish to give a gift in your Will to a charity, the gift does not necessarily need to be a monetary donation. There are several ways you can support charities.
Some examples of the different types of gifts you can choose to leave to charity in your Will are as follows:
- A percentage/fraction of your estate – this type of gift takes into account fluctuating values of your estate which can occur due to changes in the property market, inflation, or changes to your investments over time.
- Residue of your estate – this type of gift is where you leave the remainder of your estate to a charity after first providing gifts to your loved ones and deducting payments to cover your estate administration fees or funeral expenses.
- Pecuniary or specific gifts – a specific donation you set out in your Will. This may be a monetary donation, property, stock, or shares.
- Gifting your whole estate – For anyone who does not have family or other preferred beneficiaries, they can choose to leave their entire estate to a charity. This is an exceptional gift that can allow a charity to achieve something very significant.
- Set up a perpetual trust – you can set up a trust to benefit a charity or charities of your choice so that this continues in perpetuity. Usually, people name the trust after themselves or their family.
One person’s charitable donation can help countless others. Although you may feel you don’t have much to give, a little can go a long way. With your gift, charities can provide integral support to those who need it most.
One of the main ingredients for this process is for you to make a legally valid Will or update an existing Will. This is the important document that gives life to your bequest and benefits the charity of your choice after you pass away. It is our strong recommendation that you engage an experienced estate planning lawyer to draft your Will to ensure it is legally binding and valid so that your intentions are protected.
Drafting your Will – the process
The process of drafting a Will is quite simple when you get advice from an experienced estate planning lawyer. At Attwood Marshall Lawyers, we provide you with an online questionnaire to complete prior to sitting down or speaking with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. This gives your lawyer a good understanding of what strategies you will benefit from to cater to your unique family circumstances and protect your assets so that they pass on to your preferred beneficiaries.
Once we have received your questionnaire, we will arrange a consultation at the most convenient office location near you or by telephone or audio-visual means (e.g. Skype, TEAMS, or Zoom). During your appointment, you will be able to discuss your wishes, your family dynamics, and your assets so that a comprehensive plan can be put in place to ensure your testamentary wishes are fulfilled.
Our lawyers will help you understand things to consider that you may not have otherwise thought of, including who may be the most appropriate person to appoint as your executor, if a binding death benefit nomination would be a useful tool to ensure your superannuation is passed on to who you want to benefit, if a testamentary trust is required, and other advantageous strategies.
If you would like to include a gift to a charity in your Will, our estate planning lawyers can guide you through the process and make it possible. It is very important to accurately describe the charity you wish to benefit in your Will – we have been involved in many cases where the identification of the correct legal entity of the charity in the Will becomes an issue. In some cases, this can lead to an application to the Supreme Court to rectify or clarify the terms of the Will.
We frequently receive feedback from our clients about how surprised they were that the process was so easy and straightforward.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers – helping you preserve your wishes and plan for the future
Attwood Marshall Lawyers is a leading estate planning law firm with one of the largest and most experienced Wills and Estates teams in Australia. Our lawyers practice exclusively in this complex area of law and can help you plan, preserve, and protect your wishes
As a community-focused firm, we are proud to partner with several hard-working charities that help people and save lives. Through these partnerships we host Community Wills Days throughout the year. Community Wills Days are a great way to connect with the community whilst providing our services to help people create or update their Will for the cost of a modest donation to support vital charities.
To find out more about our estate planning services or how you can include a gift to a charity in your Will, contact our Wills and Estates Department Manager, Donna Tolley, on direct line 07 5506 8241, email email@example.com or call our 24/7 phone line on 1800 621 071.