leave a bequest

According to studies, well-known philanthropists have included charitable bequests in their wills because they trust that the good work of the charity they have been supporting will be continued. At Help 4 Kids, we give you the option to leave a bequest.

In a paper released by Swinburne University in 2014 on Encouraging Charitable Bequests by Australians, a government-commissioned study examining giving in Australia estimated in 2005 that 58% of adult Australians had a will, and 7.5% of those included a charity. A study of 1000 Australian donors found that the biggest influences over the decision to leave a charitable bequest were believing the family was adequately provided for; or not having a family.

No doubt this is an area that needs further improvement but a campaign last year to include a charity bequests showed that Australians were good-hearted. An Include a Charity Week campaign showed more than three times as many Australians would be willing to leave bequest to charity if the option was in the forefront of their minds when planning their estate. Campaign Director Helen Merrick said “research confirmed acceptance of solicitors engaging in charitable bequest conversations: 65% of Australians said it was okay for solicitors to ask about leaving a bequest when they were writing their will, with just 11% and 23% saying they did not think it was okay”.

The Swinburne study concluded that people tended to “respond to queries about charitable giving with a ‘socially desirable’ response; more how they think they ‘should’ behave than how they actually do. Social influence has been shown to affect charitable giving behaviour. This has been recently demonstrated in trials with will‐writers in the UK where compared to a control group, individuals who were ‘nudged’ to include a charitable bequest were three times more likely to do so. Making a decision to include a charitable bequest is often associated with self‐reflection on life history and mortality, and the desire to be remembered” – in short wanting to leave a lasting legacy to honour the family name.

Key findings of the report highlighted that charitable bequests were made more frequently from high-value estates, final estates (willed estates without a surviving spouse) and childless estates.

There are simple steps you can follow to leave a bequest to your nominated charity. It is important to note the name, address and registered charity number of your beneficiary. Engage a solicitor and seek professional advice before having your will written. If you have already written your will, you can write a new will or make simple amendments by adding a codicil – a document used to make changes to an existing will.

Remember, you can make a difference. You don’t have to be rich or famous; whoever you are, whatever your situation, you can help create a better world by including a bequest to a worthy cause, like Help 4 Kids, in your will.

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