Bequests: How to Leave a Gift to Charity in Your Will

Want to leave a gift to charity in your Will? Then you’ll need to add a bequest. Keep reading to learn about the different types of bequests.

Ariella Birnbaum Ariella Birnbaum
ARTICLE4 MIN READ
Bequests: How to Leave a Gift to Charity in Your Will

Many of us have been helped by charities during our lives, either directly or through a family member. Leaving a bequest to a charity in your Will, no matter how big or small, is one of the easiest ways to give back to organisations close to your heart. When you’re planning your estate or writing your Will, you can bequeath an inheritance to your family and still give a gift to a charity.

What is a bequest?

A bequest in a Will is simply gifting something you own after your death to someone you know (a beneficiary) or to a charity. When including a bequest in your Willl, there are two types of gifts you can leave. Either a percentage of the entire estate or an amount of money or specific assets. These assets can include money, property, shares, stocks, personal heirlooms, works of art and more.

Types of bequests

There are different types of bequests that vary depending on how you want to leave the gift and what you want to leave. Here are the four types of bequests and example wording for each one:

  • Pecuniary bequest:This isa fixed or stated sum of cash. For example:

    • “I bequeath to [Charity Name], ABN [Charity ABN], the sum of [$ Amount], to be applied for the purposes of [insert purpose] or by [Charity Name] in such a manner as its Directors may determine. I declare that the receipt in writing of an authorised officer of [Charity Name] shall be deemed proof of payment.”

  • Specific bequest:This is a gift that is quantifiable. It may be bonds, jewellery, works of art, or a property that you own. For example:

    • I give and bequeath [Charity Name], ABN [Charity ABN], my beach home at 111 Beach Lane, Beachley 3106 , to be applied for the purposes of [insert purpose] or by [Charity Name] in such a manner as its Directors may determine. I declare that the receipt in writing of an authorised officer of [Charity Name] shall be deemed proof of payment.

  • Residuary bequest: This type of bequest refers to the remainder of the estate once all other bequests and financial commitments have been honoured.

    • I give and bequeath [Charity Name], ABN [Charity ABN], all of my residuary estate, to be applied for the purposes of [insert purpose] or by [Charity Name] in such a manner as its Directors may determine. I declare that the receipt in writing of an authorised officer of [Charity Name] shall be deemed proof of payment.

  • Percentage bequests:A percentage of either the residue or the entire estate.This type of bequest makes it easy to divide your assets amongst your beneficiaries and charities.

    • I give and bequeath [Charity Name], ABN [Charity ABN], [insert number]% of my [residuary / entire] estate, to be applied for the purposes of [insert purpose] or by [Charity Name] in such a manner as its Directors may determine. I declare that the receipt in writing of an authorised officer of [Charity Name] shall be deemed proof of payment.

  • Contingency bequest: Unlike general bequests, this type of bequest specifies that it will only be fulfilled if certain conditions are met. For example, if your primary beneficiary is no longer alive, you can indicate your next choice.

Can I leave gifts to multiple charities?

You can leave gifts to multiple charities in your Will when writing your legal Will using the Willed platform. To do this, you would choose a specific or residuary bequest, which allow you to specify the amount of the gift or percentage of the estate, and where it’s going.

How do you leave a bequest in your Will?

If you want to leave a gift to charity in your Will, you can do so without having any financial implications for you during your lifetime.

Leaving a bequest in your Will is relatively straightforward. Start by deciding on the charity or charities you want to benefit from your bequest. You’ll also need to choose the type of bequest and make sure to outline it in your Will using the proper format.

If you’re leaving an inheritance for your family, it may be easier to leave a specific bequest for your chosen charity. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have to decide how to divide your assets amongst your loved ones and your chosen charities.

You should make your bequest formal when writing your Will and inform the executor of your Will or your next of kin of your wishes.

Things to consider when leaving a gift to charity in your Will

Most charities have a Bequest Officer or Legacy Manager that’s there to help you through the process. They’ll ensure that you have all the correct information for your Will and let you know whether you can make any specific requests on how you would like your bequest used by the charity after you pass away. Some charities will offer public recognition for bequests, which can also be discussed with their Bequest Officer.

However, there are a few other things to consider:

Tell your loved ones

Although leaving gifts in your Will to a charity is a personal choice, it’s still a good idea to tell your loved ones of your decision. By having the conversation, you can prevent any issues and confusion after you pass away and ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

Tell your chosen charity

If you decide to go ahead and include a bequest to a charity in your Will, make sure to let them know. It’s extremely beneficial to charities to be notified of a gift in a Will. This not only allows them to consider gifts in their budgets, but you also have the chance to express your wishes on how you would like it to help the organisation.

Bequests in your online legal Will

When you include a gift in your Will to charity, you can create a life-changing legacy which can help transform the world and act as a beacon of hope for generations to come.

If there are causes you are passionate about or if you want to ensure that particular people receive specific gifts, then make it official by including a bequest. With different types of gifting in your Will, make sure to choose the one that best suits your wishes and estate.

To start gifting and supporting your charities after you pass away, write your Will online today at Willed.

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