22 December 2020

You work hard. You plan. You save. As you get older, you know who you are and what you value. You decide what kind of legacy you’d like to leave and who you want your assets to help when you’re gone.

For many people, that includes a gift in their will to RSPCA WA to reflect their love for animals, to celebrate the joy and companionship animals have brought them, and to help end animal cruelty well into the future.

Up to 50 times a year, RSPCA WA will receive the humbling and heart-warming news that someone has decided to name us as beneficiary. The amounts vary from $500 to seven figures and we are more grateful than we can say for every single one.

There is a common misconception that the RSPCA is fully funded by Government. RSPCA WA currently requires $9 million annually to support its animal care centre, programs and services, including the 24-hour cruelty complaint line, and the animal protection work of our Inspectors.

On average, we receive less than 10 per cent of what it costs us to operate from the State Government. All other costs are funded by generous individuals and community support. Therefore, these bequests help enormously in being able to house, rehabilitate, re-home, and provide veterinary care for animals in WA.

From time to time, people contest a will that includes a bequest to RSPCA WA. During the last financial year, RSPCA WA had 10 estates at various stages of dispute, one going back more than 10 years.

Merle Bloch is a lawyer who has worked in the area of wills and estates for many years. She says it is a challenge to ensure that your wishes are upheld.

“We live in an increasingly litigious world. Adult children often don’t share the benevolent and generous charitable intentions of their parent and feel aggrieved that the RSPCA, or other charities, may benefit from what they see as rightfully theirs,” Merle said.

“While the legal position is that you can decide who to benefit when you die, there is an overarching legal obligation to make adequate provision for certain family members. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can try to ensure that both of those objectives are met.

“An experienced lawyer will also help to ensure that the validity of your will cannot be challenged and that issues of capacity and undue influence are addressed at the time the will is made, and not after the person has died.

“Regardless of how you choose to divide your assets, you will save your family a lot of time, heartache and potentially money by having a professionally prepared will. The cost of making a will is a small investment compared to the personal and legal costs of a dispute after you die.”

Leaving a gift in your will to RSPCA WA is an amazing thing to do; your legacy will live on and your generosity can help give a second chance to so many animals in need.

For those who have pets and are concerned about who will care for them when they are no longer around, RSPCA’s Home Ever After program gives pet owners of all ages peace of mind knowing their pets will receive the best possible care in future years.

Find out more about leaving a gift in your Will