Can I give part of my estate to a charity?

Published 06 Apr 2018

Australians are very generous when it comes to donating to charities. Based on statistics from Giving Australia, around 80.8 per cent of the adult population gave to charities over 2015-2016, contributing $12.5 billion.

With many people holding strong connections to charities and not-for-profit over the course of their lives, it makes sense that individuals want to bequeath part of their estate to these organisations when they pass away. However, this can be a tricky process so it pays to understand the law to ensure your will isn't challenged. Here's what you need to know about making provisions for charities.

Is bequeathing part of an estate to a charity allowed?

Under the 'freedom of testation' principle, you're allowed to leave assets and money to whoever or whatever in your will. This means that regardless of whether you volunteered at the local pet shelter, helped out at the food bank or had any sort of relationship with particular charity, you're allowed to make provisions to these organisations during your estate planning.

Of course, it's important to remember that despite your request for assets and money to be given to a charity, this still leaves your will open to be challenged by your family.

How can you avoid a challenge when giving to charity?

While this is a decision for your family when the will is read, there are several ways to ensure that your provisions to a charity or not-for-profit doesn't result in a challenge. 

  • Be open about your thought process

As mentioned above, it's your decision, but by being open about your passion and desire to give to charity, you can potentially avoid hurt feelings in the future. It may help to let your intentions be known and explain to your loved ones why the charity in question is important to you. The fewer surprises after you're gone, the better.

It's also good to speak to the charity in question, advising them of your plans and confirming that they're comfortable with this process.

  • Seek professional legal advice

To ensure that your estate planning has the appropriate clauses needed to donate to a particular charity, it's vital to work with a professional legal team such as Malouf Solicitors. We can draft your will to allow you to make provisions to whatever party you choose and then make sure it's followed through after your death.

As this option has the potential to impact a number of people, estate planning should always be a well organised and planned process. This is especially the case when your life changes and your will doesn't reflect your current thought process.

For more information about making provisions for charities, reach out to our expert team today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

I remain extremely grateful for Maloufs legal representation related to my financial management of the estate of my brother and for your continuing help and advice in this matter. As an aside, I always recommend Maloufs to my friends and family members who are seeking the best legal representation - only last week, I strongly advised a close family friend that their best interests would be served by arranging an appointment at your Parramatta offices.
John of Parramatta NSW

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