What is a Bequest?

A Bequest is a significant gift like no other and it is made only once in a life time. If we think of a Bequest as passing on a gift, that gift is representative of the end of an era, the end of a loved one, and ultimately the end of a generation for a family.
A Will is one of the most critical documents a person is ever likely to make. Its creation ensures that our wishes are carried out as we would want them and provides the culmination of a lifetime’s financial planning. It allows us to protect our family and friends as well as making certain where our assets are distributed. Our Will also allows us to remember and show support for a charity at a level which may not have been possible during a lifetime.
Philanthropy Australia is the national peak body for philanthropy and it defines a Bequest as the following:
“A gift made available upon the donor’s death by provision in their Will. A Bequest can be a specific sum of money, an item or piece of property or a percentage of an Estate”.
(Philanthropy Australia)

Leave a Bequest and how it can help?

  • The gift you may consider to leave to your Parish will greatly support to build and share resources in a just and compassionate way for future generations. This will ensure the continuity of the church and its good works long after we are gone and this treasure is beyond any measure.
  • The gift you may consider to leave to the Priests’ Retirement Foundation will provide care and support of those who nurtured our faith to ensure they can receive the accommodation, health care and support they need in their retirement.
  • The gift you may consider to leave to The Melbourne Catholic Archbishop’s Charitable Fund will support the grants distributed to Catholic Community Agencies who offer essential services to our community across the Melbourne Archdiocese.
  • The gift you may consider to leave to a specific Catholic Community Agency will support an outstanding Agency that provides long term solutions and lasting change in our community. Please see the list of agencies here

Your Will is a final statement of the love you have for your family, God’s people and the Church. After you have provided for your family and friends, making a Bequest is a significant way to support a cause that is close to your heart and a reflection of your gratitude, faith and values. Making a Bequest, small or large, is a way to make the type of generous gift that you may not be able to make during your lifetime and a way to make a real and lasting difference to future generations.

How to leave a Bequest

If you do not have a Will, then the first thing you need to do is obtain independent legal advice on creating one. Making a Bequest in your Will is a simple procedure, although when preparing or amending your Will consulting a Solicitor is always advised.



Bequest Wording

When making a gift in your Will, it is important that your solicitor uses the correct clauses and terminology.

Making a gift to a parish in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Making a gift to Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne


Definitions Regarding Bequests

Beneficiaries The people and/or organisations a person chooses to benefit from their Estate.
Bequest A gift in a Will.
Estate The possessions, property and money which remain after a person’s death.
Executor A person appointed by a person to ensure that their Estate is dealt with according to their Will.
Probate A court order granted by the Supreme Court which gives the Executor of a Will the power to deal with an Estate.
Will A document which describes how possessions are to be distributed following a person’s death.

A solicitor or trustee company can provide more information, but in general these are the major types of Bequests:

  • Contingency Bequest means a Bequest made only when the executor of an Estate cannot distribute the Estate as planned in the Will
  • Pecuniary Bequest means a Bequest of a specific sum of money
  • Specific Bequest means a Bequest of a specific and severable asset or right given to a particular person or organisation. This could be property, shares, artwork, jewellery etc.
  • Residual Bequest means a Bequest of the residual of your Estate after the specific and general Bequests have been distributed.


Why do I need a Will?
A Will enables you to have your assets distributed in the way you wish after your death.

What happens if I don’t have a Will?
You will be said to have died “intestate” and your Estate will be distributed according to the formula detailed in the 1994 Probate Act. The laws of intestacy determine how the deceased person’s property is to be distributed to their partner, children or other relatives.

Does my Estate have to pay death duties?
As of printing this brochure (August 2016), no death duties are payable.
What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a supplement or addition to a Will that explains, modifies, or revokes a previous Will provision or that adds an additional provision.

Can anyone make a claim on my Estate?
The Wills Act (1997) enabled new categories of people to make a claim on Estates. Even if a Will is valid, it may be challenged by a person who was expecting to receive a benefit, or a greater benefit, under the Will. In 2014, the Justice Legislation Amendment (Succession and Surrogacy) Act 2014 (Vic) (“Amending Act”) was introduced and applies to the Estate of any person who dies on or after 1 January 2015. The Amending Act amends the current family provision scheme to limit those who can make a claim on a deceased Estate and the grounds on which a claim can be made.

What is the appropriate wording for a bequest to a parish?
Please note our recommendation is for the wording to state “for general purposes of the parish”. This will alleviate complications when allocating the bequeathed funds.

Bequest Enquiry Form