Top tips for leaving a charitable gift in your will

The New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa
25 August 2023


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 which 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 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

Back to all posts


Recent Posts

Giving while you’re living is 33.333333% better

02 Feb 2024

Now is a great time of year to consider giving goals, as donations made now are eligible for a 33.3% tax credit this year, up to the amount of tax you pay...

Read more

The energy of local changemakers

25 Jan 2024

Funding into communities is important, but what if unlocking local energy that is our most powerful resource of all, enabling us to embark on the transformational work and empowerment that our communities need?

Read more

Waikato, more than a river runs through it.

15 Dec 2023

Recently Arron Perriam Executive Director at Community Foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, visited the team at Momentum Waikato Community Foundation. The agenda for the day was to get a glimpse of the incredible examples of community building in Waikato.

Read more