Deciding whether you want to leave money to a charity can be an important thing to think about when it comes to wills and estates. Have you given any thought about leaving a financial gift to one or more charitable organisations in your will? It's interesting to know that you can do this without actually amending your will. So what are your options when it comes to leaving money to charity?
1. Your Will
Leaving money to a charity in your will is certainly the most straightforward way to do it. You can determine an actual cash amount to be given to the charity (or charities), or you can set a percentage of your estate, the value of which will be determined once any assets are sold (such as your home). You simply stipulate these wishes in your will, and the funds are then distributed by the executor of your will, who could be a friend or family member or your legal representative. It's important to remember that your superannuation can also be used to gift money to charity (in conjunction with your will) once certain provisions have been put into place.
2. Your Superannuation
The trustee of your superannuation fund is who decides what should be allocated to each of your nominated beneficiaries. This allows them to exercise a reasonable amount of discretion, in circumstances such as when you divorce your spouse and neglect to update your list of nominated beneficiaries. The entire amount of your superannuation can be dispersed amongst your nominated beneficiaries, which can include your actual estate. You might wish to set up binding nominations, allowing you to control which percentage of the amount goes to which beneficiary, removing the trustee's discretion. This allows you to ensure that a percentage of your choosing does in fact go to your estate, which can then in turn be bequeathed to a charity via your will. This can only take place once the predetermined percentage of your superannuation has been paid to your estate.
3. Your Life Insurance
You can simply name a charity (or charities) as the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy. There can be a great amount of flexibility with this as you can amend your insurance policy without having to lodge a new will. This means that you can add or remove beneficiaries as needed, such as if the work of a particular charity becomes important to you later in life. It also allows you to entirely remove the charities from your policy, such as if you decide to offer a posthumous financial gift to a person (or persons) in your life..Share