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Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

Aged Care

Updated 26-01-2024

Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

Philanthropy plays a significant role in Australian society, with charitable giving in estate planning embodying the spirit of generosity amongst individuals who wish to leave a legacy that makes a meaningful difference. Integrating charitable donations into one's estate plan can be instrumental in supporting the causes one cares deeply about, while simultaneously providing financial benefits to the benefactors' estates and heirs.

The Essence of Charitable Bequests

Charitable bequests are a foundational component of legacy giving. These are specific instructions left in a will that designate a portion of an individual's estate to be given to one or more charitable organisations. A bequest can be a fixed amount of money, a particular asset, or a percentage of the estate's residue after all other gifts and debts have been paid.

Advantages of Including Charitable Bequests

Charitable bequests offer dual advantages; they demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and can also reduce the taxable portion of an estate. In Australia, estates are subjected to taxes that can affect the total amount passed on to heirs. Strategically planned giving can mitigate tax implications and ensure that the maximum possible contribution is made to both heirs and charitable causes.

Structuring Your Charitable Contributions

When considering charitable giving, it's essential to understand the various ways one can structure these donations within an estate plan.

Outright Bequests

The most straightforward method is through outright bequests, which transfer funds or assets directly to a charity. This method is simple to execute and represents the donor's intentions clearly within their will.

Testamentary Charitable Trusts

For those seeking a more controlled approach, testamentary charitable trusts can be created. This involves a portion of the estate being placed into a trust with stipulated terms on how the assets are to be used by the charity. This could include income-generating trust structures that benefit the charity over time.


Creating an endowment can be an impactful way to contribute, as it provides a charity with a source of income in perpetuity. Donors may set up an endowment to fund a specific aspect of the charity's work, establishing a lasting impact that can carry a donor's legacy forward indefinitely.

In estate planning for charitable giving, legal and financial counselling is pivotal. This ensures donations are utilised as intended and bestows the greatest tax advantages.

Engage with Professional Advisors

Engaging with solicitors and financial planners skilled in estate planning ensures that your charitable aspirations align with legal requirements and tax legislation. Tailoring an estate plan to optimise tax benefits involves careful consideration of the current laws and potential future changes.

Evaluating Charitable Entities

Donors should conduct due diligence to identify reputable charities that align with their values and objectives. It's important to ensure that the chosen organisations are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to guarantee the legitimacy and tax-deductibility of the contributions.

How to Proceed with Charitable Giving in Your Estate Plan

To imbue your estate plan with charitable giving:

  1. Identify Your Philanthropic Goals: Clarify what you wish to achieve with your charitable giving. This could range from supporting local community services to contributing to international humanitarian projects.

  2. Select Appropriate Charities: Choose charities that resonate with your priorities and have a proven track record of effectiveness and financial accountability.

  3. Decide on the Best Giving Mechanism: Based on your financial situation and philanthropic goals, decide whether outright bequests, trusts, or endowments best serve your objectives.

  1. Consult with Legal and Financial Experts: Work with professionals to structure your giving in a manner that is legally sound and fiscally beneficial.

  2. Communicate with Heirs: It's advisable to discuss your intentions with your heirs to prepare them for the estate's execution and reduce any potential conflicts.

  3. Update Your Will Accordingly: Ensure your will reflects your charitable giving desires unequivocally to prevent ambiguities upon execution.

Implementing charitable giving within estate planning is a profound way to create a legacy that transcends lifetimes, aiding both society and one's own family. As you consider your estate, view charitable contributions not as an afterthought but as a strategic and fulfilling aspect of financial planning. Remember, your philanthropic actions are a reflection of your values and can manifest positive change well into the future.

About the Author

Olivia is a seasoned professional with an extensive career spanning the Aged Care sector, bringing decades of experience to her role. Her comprehensive understanding of Aged Care services and practices is a testament to her dedication. Olivia’s gratitude extends to those who have generously shared their knowledge and insights with her over the years, contributing to her wealth of expertise.

Olivia’s articles reflect her commitment to practical and informative content. They skillfully combine her industry know-how with real-world insights, providing valuable resources for navigating the complexities of the Aged Care sector. Olivia stands as a reliable advocate for delivering compassionate and effective care to elderly individuals, offering her support not only to fellow care workers and professionals but also to those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the sector.

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