More New Zealanders leaving a gift to charity in their will – Wills Week shines the spotlight on “willanthropy”

Media release by The Public Trust, June 2024

Whether it’s the community cause you support, the animal shelter you love, or the cancer charity you’re involved with – leaving a gift in your will can be transformative for New Zealand charities. With bequests to good causes on the rise, Public Trust’s Wills Week urges New Zealanders to think of their will as a powerful tool.

Wills Week is coming up, 15-21 July. This year, New Zealanders are being encouraged to make or update their will and, after taking care of family and friends, consider including a charitable gift.

Public Trust Chief Executive Glenys Talivai says making a bequest is a way people can create a lasting legacy. “Your will is not only important for planning for the future. Leaving a gift in your will can be a wonderful and meaningful way to give back to the causes, charities and community organisations in that matter most to you.”

Industry experts anticipate a rise in bequests, fuelled by New Zealand’s ageing population and intergenerational wealth transfer. The trend has been dubbed “willanthropy”.

“While we’re seeing more people leaving a gift in their will, it’s still not something that’s widely known. This means there is a big opportunity for New Zealanders to make a positive impact. You don’t need to be wealthy to leave a gift in your will. Whatever you’re able to give can make a big difference,” says Talivai.

Did you know…

  • 8% of wills written with Public Trust in the last three years have a gift to a charity.
  • The average value of the gift is $10,000.
  • The most common types of charities provided for are those focused on cancer, children, education, medical research and protecting New Zealand’s environment and wildlife.

Philanthropy New Zealand is joining forces with Public Trust to share stories about the positive impact legacy giving can make.

“Bequests play an important role in Aotearoa’s philanthropic sector and every day we see the good mahi happening in communities all around Aotearoa because of giving,” says Philanthropy New Zealand Chief Executive Rahul Watson Govindan.

Having the opportunity to choose a charity that aligns with personal values can mean so much to the person leaving a charitable gift, he says. “We know that many New Zealanders don’t fully understand their ability to make a positive difference. There is so much need out there and there are so many opportunities for New Zealanders to make a positive difference, including by leaving a bequest.”

Your will is a powerful tool
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for what you’d like to happen to your assets when you die. A will can also include gifts to loved ones, a charity or causes close to you.

These special gifts are called bequests and they are a vital source of funding enabling charities and not-for-profits to sustain their programmes, expand their activities and reach their goals. Making a bequest, big or small, ensures your generosity continues beyond your lifetime, helping to provide care and support, aiding scientific research, promoting education or enriching the arts.

For more information and to register for a free seminar on charitable giving in your will go to

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