Top tips for leaving a charitable gift in your will

New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa

Giving gifts in your will is a sensible way to ensure your legacy remains after you pass. Leaving donations or bequests this way also ensures you can fit them into your budget – these gifts are given after the debts and costs of your estate have been settled.

Endowment funds, like those offered by Community Foundations across New Zealand, ensure that the support you want to give to an organisation or purpose lasts for a long time. This means your legacy lives on in the way you want it to.

When considering leaving gifts in a will, there are some key things to remember to make sure your intent for settling your estate is clearly captured.

  • Have a lawyer write up your will so that the intent is clearly captured, and you are well informed of your options.
  • Ensure you know which assets fall into part of your estate, and what assets may not.
  • Consider how you want to care for whānau and friends after you have gone.
  • Ask your lawyer what endowment funds are available to best support a cause you are passionate about or discuss the possibility of setting up your own endowment fund. Community Foundations across New Zealand can help set these up.
  • Manage the residue of your estate – what is left after your debts and costs are settled – in percentages. This is important if the size of your estate is different to that of when you made the will.
  • Ensure the will you draft revokes any earlier will that you may have made.
  • Talk with your family about your decisions so that everyone is clear about your wishes. A clear understanding of your wishes can be the best protection for the gifts you want to make.

This information is attributed to the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa in support of September Wills Month and the work Community Foundations of New Zealand do managing bequests from wills every year. If you need to speak to a lawyer to assist in preparing your will, the Law Society website’s Find a Lawyer tool can help you find one in your local area.

Read stories of generous people who have decided to leave a gift in their will to their local community


Date Posted: 14 Aug 2020

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