Have you made (or are you intending to make) a gift to a charity in your Will?

What if the charity ceases to exist?

This issue recently faced the Queensland Supreme Court for determination.

Mr Graham died in 2016.

His Will gifted half of his sizable estate to the Stroke Association of Queensland (“SAQ”). Unfortunately, between the date on which Mr Graham died and when the gift was to be paid, the SAQ had ceased to exist. Other “Stroke” charities, being the National Stroke Foundation Ltd (“NSF”), Synapse Australia Ltd (“SAL”) and the Stroke Recovery Trial Fund (“SRTF”) were informed of the failed gift and sought a share of the benefit.

The Court had a responsibility to give effect to the intentions of Mr Graham and apply the gift to a scheme closest to his intentions. The Court ultimately divided the gift 45% to NSF, 45% to SAL and 10% to SRTF.

A carefully drafted clause in your Will can cater for circumstances where a gift to a charity has failed – avoiding the need for costly Court applications.