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Legal process - how to leave a Bequest

Thank you for considering wilderness in your Will. If this is the first time writing your Will, please click on the links below for information on writing this important document. 

Preparing your Will

Suggested wording

Legacy options

Solicitor friends

Forever Wild booklet

Photo by Glenn WalkerPhoto by Glenn Walker

Preparing your Will

Making a Will and keeping it up to date is very important. It will ensure your wishes are reflected and avoid any unnecessary burden on your loved ones. Below is a list of suggestions to help you prepare:

Personal details

Make a list of all your personal details, for example:

  • Date of birth
  • Birth place
  • Religion
  • Spouse name
  • Marriage date
  • Children’s names/addresses/tax file numbers
  • Social Security Pension Number
  • Veterans Affairs Number

Contact details 

Make a list of all your important contacts, stating their name, address and phone number/email, membership numbers etc. for example:
  • Executor of your Will
  • Next of kin
  • People to be notified of your death
  • Doctor
  • Solicitor
  • Accountant
  • Superannuation
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Financial advisor
  • Bank and account details

Assess your estate

Make a detailed list of your significant possessions, for example:
  • House
  • Jewellery
  • Superannuation
  • Vehicles
  • Insurance
  • Other items of value


You can choose to share your estate between anyone you like; your spouse, family or friends. You could also leave a legacy (Bequest) to a charity or good cause, such as the Wilderness Society, after your family and friends have all been properly provided for. 


Your liabilities don’t have to be listed on your Will, but it is a good idea to write them down, for example: mortgages, loans on real estate, bank/other financial institution loans, personal/private loans, credit card liabilities and money owed on private/individuals or to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 

Decide on the Bequest

You can leave any kind of Bequest in your Will — a share of your estate (residuary), an amount of money (pecuniary) or specific items. Other ways to leave a legacy can be found here.

Choose your executor

You should select between one and four people who will be able and willing to ensure your wishes within your Will are carried out. You can choose your bank, solicitor, friends or relatives. 
In the absence of a suitable executor, the Wilderness Society cannot act as an executor for your estate and we would recommend you get in touch with your local Public Trustee who will be able to help. 

Arrange to see a solicitor

This shouldn't take long, but it’s important to involve a legal professional to draw it up for you. If all the legal formalities are not correctly followed, your Will could be declared invalid and your wishes may not be carried out. 
The cost of seeing a solicitor varies depending on who you see, however it is a small price to pay for the reassurance that your wishes will be carried out. 

Personal requirements

Make note of your funeral arrangements, whether you would like to be buried or cremated and any other specific requests.

If you would prefer donations to your favourite charities rather than floral tributes at your own funeral, it is a good idea to state the preference in your Will so your executor can ensure your wishes are carried out. 

See our Donate in memory page for more information.

Keep your Will up to date

You can update your Will at any time to reflect changes in your circumstances, such as the sale of your house, birth of a new family member or a change in relationships (e.g. marriage, divorce or the death of a friend or family member).

Your solicitor can advise you on the best way to change your Will. By adding a codicil, (a document that amends, rather than replaces a previously executed Will), you are spared the trouble and expense of having to rewrite your existing Will. 

Keep in a safe place

Keep all these personal papers stored with your Will. Store your Will in a safe place and let your executor know where it is stored. You can lodge it with a bank in a 'Safe Custody' envelope or with a solicitor or trustee company.
You may want to send a copy to major beneficiaries, family members and your executor.

On behalf of Australia’s wilderness and wildlife, thank you for considering leaving a bequest in your Will. 

Below is the suggested wording for your Will. It is not compulsory to use this exact wording, however it will minimise any misunderstandings and ensure your wishes are carried out.

“I bequeath to The Wilderness Society Ltd. (ABN: 18 611 229 086) for the purpose of fostering and restoring wilderness in Australia (a specified sum), or (specified items), or (the residue of my estate) free of all duties and the receipt of the Secretary or other authorised officer for the time being shall be a complete and sufficient discharge for the executor(s).”

If you are considering leaving a bequest to The Wilderness Society in your Will, please contact us to let us know so we can answer any questions you may have.

For further information on leaving a bequest in your Will to The Wilderness Society, please contact our Forever Wild Coordinator on (03) 9038 0876 or email

Legacy options

Anybody can leave a bequest, no matter the size, that will make a difference to ensuring the preservation of Australia’s stunning natural environment. 

There are many different types of bequests you can leave to ensure your family and loved ones are looked after and your wishes are met. 

Residual Bequest

If you have family and friends to look after, this is often the best option as it prioritises them first and the Wilderness Society after everything else is settled.

Percentage Bequest

Leaving a certain predetermined percentage of your estate to the Wilderness Society ensures the value of the gift reflects the value of the growth of your estate. 

Cash gift 

You may designate a specific sum money be given to the Wilderness Society in your Will. 

Specific gift 

You may designate a specific item such as personal property (e.g. real estate, artwork, jewellery) be given to the Wilderness Society, provided we are given permission to sell the item to raise cash funds for campaigning to protect wilderness. 

Life insurance and superannuation policies 

The Wilderness Society can be the beneficiary of a life insurance or superannuation policy (subject to the terms of the policy). 
There are many other options to ensuring your will meets your personal requirements. Please contact us for further information on (03) 9038 0876 or email