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Trends in Will Making Good for NFPs?


9 June 2015 at 10:19 am
Lina Caneva
The recent release of a comprehensive, four-year study into trends in Will making and Will disputes in Australia provides important insights for Not for Profits in planning their fundraising and bequest strategies, writes lawyer Andrew Simpson.

Lina Caneva | 9 June 2015 at 10:19 am


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Trends in Will Making Good for NFPs?
9 June 2015 at 10:19 am

The recent release of a comprehensive, four-year study into trends in Will making and Will disputes in Australia provides important insights for Not for Profits in planning their fundraising and bequest strategies, writes lawyer Andrew Simpson.

According to the recent report, Having the last word? Will Making and Contestation in Australia, almost 60 per cent of all adult Australians have made a Will.

Of the 40 per cent who do not have a Will, just over half plan to make one at some stage.

These statistics are good news for bequest officers, as they show a reasonable level of awareness among the Australian community about Wills and their importance.

However, the report states that most Will-makers regard their Will as a “family document” with the main purpose of transferring wealth within the family.

And in worrying news for Not for Profits only 16 per cent of Will-makers thought it was important to provide for charities in their Will.

Women and Will-makers without children were the most likely to consider making a charitable bequest, but half of those without children did not see charitable giving as important.

What do these findings mean for Not for Profits?

1.    There is a large group of people who do not have Wills but who are planning to make one.  All of these people are potential bequest donors.

2.    The competition for the bequest dollar will continue to be strong as Not for Profits seek out the 16 per cent of Will-makers who regard charitable giving as important.  Differentiating your bequest program from others should be a priority.

3.    A major focus of bequest programs should continue to be on those Will-makers approaching retirement age where the level of engagement with Wills is high.

4.    A bequest program should only be one aspect of a broader planned giving program.

The report is based on a joint research project conducted by the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and Victorian University.

The findings of the report are drawn from five major research studies that included a telephone survey of more than 2400 Australian adults, an online survey of more than 250 Will drafters, as well as in-depth interviews with a range of groups.

The report is available here

About the Author: Andrew Simpson is the principal in charge of the will disputes practice at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. He has also written a book on wills and estate planning called “You can’t take it with you”.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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