Starting a conversation about
your legacy

This month, Plan International joined charities all over Australia to celebrate Include a Charity Week – a time to think about how your legacy will create a positive difference for generations to come.

A Will is about your life and values. Including a gift for a charity gives you the power to make a positive impact on the lives of your loved ones and the world they live in.

By sharing your wishes with your family, you can kick start a conversation about the causes closest to your heart.  We know this can feel a little awkward, so the Include a Charity team took some time to consult with the experts about how to tackle this very personal – but very powerful – conversation.


Rohani Bixler

A Special Counsel at Burke & Associates Lawyers, Rohani has an extensive legal background in Wills and Estates, and has been practising exclusively in the areas of estate planning, deceased estate administration and estate litigation and disputes since 2006.  


“I do think that gifts in Wills are lovely things. If you’ve got kids, you can add to their quality of life, but you can leave a legacy that has potentially a greater impact to a greater number of people with a charitable gift.”

Stephen George

Stephen is a fundraising consultant and coach, and a NFP leader with over 30 years of experience in the sector. Stephen works with charities all over the world to raise more money, and do more good.  


“It’s a natural part of human behaviour to not engage with your own mortality until you either have to, or time starts to make things clear. But as you get older, you start to realise what’s important and start to ask questions about your life and your own legacy. Some engage with this, some don’t but it’s a powerful force. Did I live a meaningful life? In this, leaving a gift in our Will becomes a way we can live on symbolically.”

Michele Davis

Michele is an experienced lawyer, nationally accredited mediator, educator, researcher and writer. A self-confessed ‘succession nerd’, Michele has practised almost exclusively in Wills and Estates since her admission to legal practice.  


“At the end of the day, a Will is what you want, it’s your will in every way. But that unwillingness to talk about it can make it a conflicting situation. I’m an advocate for simplicity, openness and trying to take the taboo out of death talk, because there’s just so much value in that.”


Why is it so important to talk about my Will with my family?


"People are fearful of having these conversations in life. But the truth is it’s too late when you’re gone. Taking care of your affairs and explaining your decisions means you get a chance to have a say, before it’s too late. And, most importantly, you are not leaving behind a big problem for your loved ones."


"Grief and money collectively are always a really difficult combination. It can really flesh out old issues, or create new ones. That lack of understanding of what the person wanted can sometimes exacerbate that. So those conversations can be really valuable for the family as a whole. They might be able to overcome things they never knew were an issue in the first place. When is the best time to bring up my own estate plans or charitable gifts?"  

When is the best time to bring up my own estate plans or charitable gifts?


"There’s no set rule or time. Lots of people still want to keep things private, but many people recommend having a conversation at the time you are getting a Will in place or as early as possible. It’s a good time to share what you want to do and can include sharing the charities you want to give to, any gifts to family such as heirlooms or items you treasure and even the song you want played at your funeral! So, try to be open, light-hearted, and practical – early is better than later!"  

How should I raise the topic of a charitable gift in Will?  


"It can be really helpful if there’s some background to it. Take a more gentle approach by saying, ‘I know this is hard, but I really need to talk about it.’ If there’s a charitable gift, a story and context about what the charity means to you could really help develop empathy. If you’ve got a story, suddenly the other person cares too, and can see why it’s so important to you."


"A legacy conversation is a wonderful thing. Ask people questions. Remember it’s a conversation but you should listen more than you speak. ‘What do you think about’, ‘have you thought’ or. ‘what’s your experience,’ are ways to start to explore. Sometimes, if there’s a little nudge like a promotion or story or even someone else’s conversation, you can discuss the subject and explore and then see if it’s something they have thought about or considered." 

What would my kids say if I left a portion of my Estate to a charity,
instead of leaving everything to them?  

Meet the Hendersons

Valerie and Ron Henderson sponsored children across Asia and Africa for four decades, from when their children were small to grown adults. While sadly both Ron and Val have now passed away, this year their three children were proud to take care of their legacy gift for Plan International, as Executors of Val’s Estate.   

While we can’t tell you what your family would say, we can tell you that a charitable legacy is something the whole family can be proud of.

“Ron and Val’s enthusiasm for Plan’s activities was passed
on to us. We have each been sponsors with Plan for
about 30 years now.

"Ron and Val were generous supporters of many charities during their lives and Val has left a will entirely
consistent with that.

"We are very proud of the contribution that our parents have made to Plan’s important work over such a significant period and hope to continue this family ‘tradition’.

"We know that something memorable and lasting will be
achieved with Val’s bequest.”

 -  Fiona, Craig and Kim Henderson


To mark Include a Charity Week,
Plan International would like to offer you the chance to write your Will online for free.   

Through leading online Will writing service Safewill, you can take care of what matters most – your family and friends and the causes close to your heart.  

By completing an online Will before 15 October 2022, Plan International supporters will save $140 on the normal cost of this service.   

Anyone with a simple Estate can complete their Will
in three simple steps:  

1. Follow the step-by-step process on the safewill website

2. Submit your Will for review by a registered solicitor   

3. Print your Will, sign it and store it in a safe place.   

Though there is no obligation to leave a bequest to Plan International Australia, we hope you will take the opportunity to continue your support and transform lives long into the future.   

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Key Relationships team if you have questions about how leaving a gift in your Will can work for you and your family.

You can email or call 0427 407 293