Charities, gifts and Wills

By Greg Cox / 11 September 2018

This week is “Include a Charity Week”, an activity of Fundraising Institute Australia to raise the profile of charitable gifts in Wills.

If you wanted to make a gift to one or more charities in your Will, it makes sense that you plan and prepare properly so that your wishes are followed and implemented.

Unfortunately, things can, and do, go wrong including:

  1. the charity in question either does not exist at all or is not sufficiently identified or correctly named in the Will;
  2. the Will does not cover the possibility of the particular charity changing its name, amalgamating with another charity or ceasing to exist between when the Will was made and when the Will-maker dies;
  3. the Will sets out a particular purpose that the gift is to be used for which cannot be given effect to;
  4. the Will does not set out whether or not the Executor is under any obligation to ensure that the charity uses the gift for the purpose intended;
  5. the Will-maker has not given proper consideration to the claims that their family may have;
  6. appropriate strategies have not been put in place which is intended to protect the charitable gift if the Will is contested.

With that in mind, it is very important that a person wanting to make a gift to one or more charities in their Will obtains legal advice and has their Will prepared by a lawyer.  The costs associated with doing so are insignificant compared to the costs that will be incurred (and which are likely to be paid out of the person’s Estate) if things go wrong and disputes arise.

It is understood that while many people think about making a gift to a charity in their Will, only a small number currently go ahead and make such a gift. Therefore, it is even more important that those who do go ahead and make a gift to a charity in their Will, get it right.

For more information or discussion, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Estates and Succession team. 

Greg Cox
Special Counsel
Greg leads HopgoodGanim’s Estate Law practice and offers more than 25 years’ experience in estate planning, administration and litigation.
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