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Legacy income will exceed 100 million euros in Austria for the first time this year, according to a forecast by the Austrian Fundraising Association (Fundraising Verband Austria), with charitable legacies in the country more than doubling over the past ten years.
This means that every ninth euro donated to good causes in 2022 will come through a gift in a will.
Figures shared by Fundraising Verband Austria from the Lower Austrian Bar Association figures show that 16% of the population over 40 can imagine leaving a gift in their will, and 25% would be willing to use nonprofits as substitute heirs.
The main motivation for leaving a charitable bequest among Austrians is the desire to do something good after death. Having a personal connection to an organisation and stopping assets from going to the state are also important motivators.
Around half of those who leave a gift in their will are already known to the benefitting organisations as supporters, and almost 90% are childless. Most gifts tend to be between €50,000 and €100,000.
Austria sees almost 100,000 probate procedures processed every year. However, many are accompanied by protracted inheritance disputes. One in four Austrians has already been involved in one, usually because there is either no will or it is incorrectly written. 70% of people also say they have little information about legal succession, and around 85% do not know the formal requirements for wills.
Vergissmeinnicht – die Initiative für das gute Testament, which has more than 100 member organisations from across the nonprofit sector, is working to address this in partnership with the Chamber of Notaries. Its activity includes events throughout Austria, a guide to inheritance law, a podcast with notaries and a free digital will calculator, which helps users work out what they need to consider.
Its leader Markus Aichelburg comments:
“2,000 Austrians every year decide to consider not only relatives and friends but also charitable organisations in their wills. More and more people want to decide for themselves what happens to their belongings after death. They often want it to benefit charitable causes that were important to them during their lifetime.”
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