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Talk about giving

Briefs

Cite as: September 2014 88 (09) LIJ, p.16

Lawyers are being encouraged to ask about philanthropic gifts when they are drafting or updating clients’ wills.

Research shows lawyers are instrumental in charitable bequests being made. A UK study reports the number of charitable bequests included in wills was 4.9 per cent when the option was not mentioned by solicitors and 10.8 per cent when it was.

Support is being sought from the legal profession as part of Include a Charity Week – 8-14 September.

Include a Charity is a campaign led by 140 Australian charities. Its aim is to inspire people to donate in their wills so charities are able to continue helping the community.

According to the 2012 World Giving Index, 87 per cent of Australians will have donated to charity in their lifetime, making Australia one of the world’s most charitable nations. But only about 12.5 per cent of Australians provide for charity in their wills.

“One of the reasons that so few Australians include charitable gifts in their wills seems to be that the topic is traditionally rarely mentioned by solicitors when meeting with their clients,” Ross Anderson, an Include a Charity board member, said.

“We believe solicitors have a critically important role to play. Their actions during will instruction interviews can help fulfill clients’ philanthropic wishes. And by encouraging clients to share their wishes with their family, solicitors can help prevent any nasty surprises from cropping up further down the track.”

For more information on giving to charities, including how solicitors can broach bequests with clients, go to www.includeacharity.com.au.

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