Care required gifting to charities

The “Include a Charity” initiative is under way. It is directed at encouraging people to make a gift to charity in their Wills.

I don’t think it is necessary to say anything more about how worthwhile such an initiative is, but it is necessary to draw attention to some legal pitfalls.

It is vitally necessary in a Will to properly identify the object of the gift. If the intended recipient is not named properly there is a real risk that the gift will fail.

It is not as easy as one might think to properly identify the particular charity. For example, leaving a gift to “the Lost Dogs Home” is vague. Which lost dogs home? In what State? For what purposes at the lost dogs home?

Solicitors practising regularly in this area would always check the correct legal identity of the proposed charity. Traditionally solicitors would purchase The Charity’s Book which listed all relevant details about most charities. However, there is now an associated website at which such details can be easily located –

Charities will also often provide the suggested wording for the gift, or a number of alternate wordings according to what particular aspect of the charity is sought to be benefited, in addition to the correct legal name and address.

If all else fails the charity should be telephoned and advice sought about correct wording. Charities are always delighted to receive these calls!

The moral of the story is that great care is required in drafting Wills, not only for charitable gifts, but also for all other “normal” gifts.


© Peter Gauld LL.B.

Peter J. R. Gauld LL.B

Gauld & Co. Elder Law Solicitors

Suite 5, 1st Floor,

838 Glenferrie Road,

Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia, 3122.

03 9024 3868

0401 230 711

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