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Back to "Community & Associations Newsletter - November 2022"


Leaving a gift to charity in your Will

Often bequests are a major source of income for charities, and the provision in your Will must be accurate.

Many charities give guidance in brochures or on their websites as to the preferred wording to be used, so, you should provide this to your solicitor for the drafting.

For example, Cancer Council NSW requests that the wording reads as follows:

‘I GIVE to The Cancer Council NSW (ABN 51 116 463 846) for its general purposes (or you may choose to name a more specific purpose) (insert the gift you would like to leave, such as the whole of your estate, a percentage of your estate or a specific cash amount) free of all duties, and the receipt of the Secretary or other authorised officer for the time being shall be a complete and sufficient discharge for the Executor.’

Other charities may request different wording but something similar to the preceding text will be sufficient

Note the ABN of the charity is included, as it is the prime identifier of an entity, rather than its name or address. The ABN must go into the text.

Additionally, you should also consider what will happen to your gift if the charity that you would like to benefit no longer exists at the time of your death. To prevent your gift from lapsing, the solicitor should be instructed to add words to the following effect:

“If at the date of my death [insert name of charity and ABN] has changed its name, has merged with another charity or has ceased to exist, then this gift will not fail, but my executor shall be authorised to direct this gift to the charity delivering the charitable purpose they consider I intend to benefit”

If you put a bequest in your Will, and are confident you will not later change your mind, you may decide to advise the charity of your intentions. Many charities often prompt potential donors with a query as to whether or not they have left a gift in their Will, as in that way, the charity can take them into account in general long term budgeting processes: early communication with the charity allows you to be specific as to how you would like your gift to be applied after your death

There are some CGT advantages where gifts pass in specie to charities that are deductible gift recipients (DGR’s) so your solicitor should ask such charities whether they prefer to take their gift in specie.

Ben Zmeshkal, Lawyer

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