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Philanthropic Giving

By Todd Stanford, Senior Financial Planner

Introduction

Australia is traditionally a giving nation. Australian’s have a deep-seated code of ‘mate ship’ believing that everyone is entitled to a ‘fair go’. If one of us is in need then we rally together to support those less fortunate (e.g. just recall natural disasters such as bush fires, cyclones or tsunami). Many of us have and still do donate to a charity on a regular basis. Others make ad-hoc donations to various charities when approached (e.g. Red Cross door knock appeal).

You don’t have to be wealthy to be philanthropic. Many people give little or no money but rather volunteer their time and/or expertise in their local community and/or to a charitable organisation. For wealthier Australian’s who make larger donations it is often more effective to channel giving ideas into a planned giving vehicle such as their own Private Ancillary Fund (PAF).

In what is the first of a series of three articles on philanthropy, we provide insights into what is philanthropy, some motivators on why people give, examples of significant philanthropists and explore avenues on how to give. Finally, we provide a link to on-line resources should you wish to read further.

What is Philanthropy?

Philanthropy Australia provides a formal definition as ‘the planned or structured giving of money, time, goods and services or other to improve the well-being of humanity and the community”.

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If you are a person who has achieved a stage of financial independence, it is vital that you have an effective Estate Plan to protect you and your family. An Estate Plan is not limited to having a Will. It generally involves more complex decisions around the control of your personal, family and business affairs in the event of death or incapacitation.

If a plan is poorly constructed and communicated, it can lead to damaging disputes. You may have heard about the Rinehart family feud? Or the family who never reconciled when the granddaughter took her grandmother’s antique engagement ring? How about the estate that got whittled away to nothing by legal fees? And the neighbour who passed away without a Will and suddenly a mistress emerged in the aftermath? We’ve all heard the horror stories – and many of us, sadly, have been involved in them.

Poor planning, lack of open communication, high emotions and high stakes when handling an estate are a combustible mix and can lead to family relationships breaking down. None of us want this in theory – but it happens tragically often.

This article focuses on ways to help ensure you avoid such problems by putting in place an effective Estate Plan – by which we mean one that is complete, valid, and well-communicated. Read more

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