Talking about Wills is not the most awkward family conversation

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Include a Charity Week encourages Aussies to open up conversations about inheritance  

Include a Charity has revealed the most awkward conversations Aussies have with their families, with Wills and inheritance not ranking in the top three – finding it’s not nearly as awkward as expected.

The Awkward Conversations research1 released today surveyed Australians aged 30-65 years and found thirty-six per cent of Aussies say that ‘the sex talk’ as a child or teenager was the number one most awkward conversation they have had with their parents, followed by sexuality (28%), and asking for a loan (19%).

The survey also found that talking about inheritance ranked as the fourth most awkward conversation for older Australians aged 51-65 years while for Aussies aged 30-40 years, talking about inheritance is the sixth most awkward conversation topic.

Katherine Raskob, CEO at Fundraising Institute Australia, says: “This year, Include a Charity Week starts just after Father’s Day, so we really want to encourage Aussies when they’re getting together with their families to have a conversation about their intentions to leave a charitable gift in their Will.”

“Our research found that 62% (6 in 10) of Australians aged 30-65 years said they thought about leaving a donation to a charity or cause in their Will. We want to change that statistic and it may seem like an awkward conversation to have with loved ones, but having the chat now means your family can carry out your wishes and it will avoid any problems when it may be too late”.

The research also found that three in four (73%) Aussies donate to charities/causes, and when it comes to the charities and causes that are closest to the hearts of Aussies, number one is cancer charities (44%), followed by animal welfare (38%), children’s charities (35%), mental health (31%), homelessness (30%) and women’s charities/causes (27%). Additionally, one in five Australians donate money to environmental causes (20%) and men’s charities/causes (18%).

Each year Include a Charity Week, a campaign of peak body Fundraising Institute Australia, brings together over 100 local charities, to encourage a national conversation with Australians on the impact they can make by leaving a charitable gift in their Will.

The growing Gifts in Wills sector in Australia accounts for almost a fifth of total fundraising income. It has proven vital for local charities; however, many people are unsure how a gift in their Will could make a difference.

One way for Australians to broach a sensitive or awkward subject is to break the ice with a little humour, and comedian Dan Ilic provides his insights and some fun ways to keep it light.

“Some of you are a little closer to the great microwave in the sky than some, so it’s important to think now about how and who gets whatever wealth you’ve acquired no matter how meagre on this spectral plane… because as my Mum said to me when I found a fairy penguin at the beach ‘we can’t take it with us – you should know this, you’re well into your 30s.’” said Ilic.

So, don’t worry, I’ve sorted it out for you here are my “five top fun tips” to discussing donating in your will with family:

  1. Create a survivor style physical challenge that will be impossible. If your family members and loved ones can’t complete it, say that your money is going to charity.
  2. Have a Reading of The Will Rehearsal Dinner. This is a great way to mitigate a “no surprises” policy in your family. Everyone will know everything. It will have the downside of you being lobbied for more until you expire.
  3. Take every opportunity to tell everyone that everything you own is going to charity so they better suck it up. (My mother’s current strategy).
  4. Hold a quarterly board meeting with your family and loved ones, and a Charity CEO, and compare what every family member has done for humanity that quarter VS Hugh Jackman from Laughing Man Worldwide.
  5. Just tell your family, with kindness, which charity you’ll be leaving money to and why, and also let them know that your least favourite family member won’t be getting any and why.

The Australian charities behind this campaign cover a broad spectrum of causes and aspects of the community, from medical research, education, animal welfare, the environment, the arts and more, and all charities involved with Include a Charity Week in 2022 can be found here.

For more information on Include a Charity Week and seriously useful tips how to broach the subject of donating in your will, visit

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