John Carbery, who is retired and used to work in sales, decided to leave his entire estate in his will to the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation, in Sydney, after his partner of 48 years died in April following a long illness.
“It was an easy decision because I have no dependents and am so indebted to the hospital,” Carbery said.
“We found all hospital staff to be kind, compassionate and caring, and some staff are good friends,” said the 74-year-old Sydneysider.
Carbery said people who are in circumstances where they don’t feel obliged to leave their estate to others may not think think about leaving it to a charity.
“My story may encourage those who may not think about giving and are in a position to give,” he said.
A report by QUT and Swinburne University of Technology, showed more than 80 per cent of Australians donate money in their lifetime, however, just over 7 per cent of people leave money in their will to charities. The percentage has remained unchanged for the previous 10 years.
The Giving Australia 2016 by QUT and Swinburne found it is people aged 55-64, rather than those aged 65 plus, who had the highest level of including a gift in their will.
It was an easy decision because I have no dependents and am so indebted to the hospital.
Legacy Foresight said the more than doubling of money left in wills to charities it expects in 20 years’ time will be driven by more deaths and a greater proportion of child-free deaths.
Helen Merrick, the campaign director for Include a Charity, part of the Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) that helps hundreds of charities with their appeals for funds, said only 21 per cent of solicitors ask clients about charitable gifts, but 65 per cent of Australians told a survey commissioned by the FIA in 2017 that they wouldn’t mind if the question was put to them.
Include a Charity is working with solicitors to get more people to ask the question, as they are the first port of call usually when people go to write their will.
Ms Merrick said research in the Britain found that the number of gifts in wills trebled if solicitors asked their clients if they wanted to leave money to charity in their will.
“It’s not just wealthy people who give, with the average gift being left in their will of about $53,000, and many are smaller. Charities are grateful for gifts, big and small, it all helps,” she said.
Writes about personal finance for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.