The information provided below is general in nature and should not be relied upon legal advice. You should call 03 5445 1000 and speak to a lawyer at OFRM about your particular circumstances.

Donating to charity through your will

Australians are very generous people and in time of need, rally around to support worthwhile causes. Organisations like Royal Children’s Hospital, Salvation Army and Red Cross, to name but a few, are well supported by the public with donations.

You might think that it follows, that Australians are extremely generous in making gifts through their wills to charities. This is not true. I have made thousands of wills over more than 30 years as a lawyer but it is my belief that less than 2 percent of those wills contained any charitable gifts. This does not indicate that people are being mean spirited in their wills, it is simply that they are, understandably, focused upon their own immediate family members.

If everyone gave 1 percent of their estate to charities, then this would probably result in charitable gifts increasing 20 fold. The remaining 99 percent that was available for family or friends would still represent a very generous provision for them.

Is there a charity that you feel is deserving of 1 percent of your estate?

When drafting gifts for charities in a will it is important to accurately describe the charity that is to benefit. Good wills also make provision for an alternate charity in the unlikely event that the designated charity no longer exists. There are similarities between charities and it is important to identify the precise charity that you have in mind. You can tag the gift with a specific purpose or you can leave the funds to the charity to be applied for their general charitable purposes.

Most charities will have a very informative website and they will be able to provide you with lots of inspiration on ways a charitable gift will assist them.