Leaving a gift for charity when estate planning

Date: Apr 11, 2014

If you regularly support a not-for-profit organisation or charity, you may want to consider how to include this group in your estate planning. When deciding who to bequest gifts to in your will, it is possible to name a charity as a beneficiary.

Including a gift for a charity in your will is a good way to express your support for a cause that is important to you. While your financial situation may make it difficult to donate to these charities while living, once you have passed and you no longer need your assets, you can make a significant donation.

There are four different options for bequests you can leave charities and other beneficiaries in your will, including:

  • Pecuniary - A specific gift of money, shares or property.
  • Fractional  - A percentage of your estate
  • Residual bequest - The charity receives whatever is left over when all other gifts and costs are deducted.
  • Whole estate - The charity is gifted the entirety of your assets and estate.

While the choice to bequest your entire estate to a charity can be a noble decision, this is typically an option chosen only by those without close family or other beneficiaries. This is because it is important to ensure you adequately provide for any individuals or groups that you may have a moral obligation to support financially.

While some individuals with families have chosen to leave their entire estate to charity, including massive fortunes worth millions of dollars, these situations often result in estate disputes.

If a family member or other dependant believes you have not adequately provided for them, they may challenge your will and successfully reduce the amount you wish to give to charity. However, these individuals will have to prove you had a moral obligation to support them financially.

Ensure your charitable gift remains valid

When you wish to make a gift to a charity in your will, it is crucial you ensure the bequest is made correctly. If you're planning to add a charity to your estate plan, get in touch with a wills and estates lawyer.

The lawyer can make sure the charity is accurately added into your will, including precise details such as their Australian Business Number. Additionally, working with a lawyer will minimise the risk of somebody disputing your will once you have passed.

To ensure your charitable donation reaches the right people, get in touch with an estate planning lawyer at Craddock Murray Neumann today.