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Leaving a legacy

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What is a legacy?

A legacy is something we leave behind when we die. A legacy can be comprised of the intangible memories and feelings people hold for you after you die. A legacy can also take the form of a bequest, or donation, to be actioned after your death.

In the funeral context, a legacy is a financial gift that is bestowed according to the wishes of the deceased. Your remembrance legacy can make a real difference to the lives of others.

Your legacy and the way you are remembered are closely tied. Leaving a financial legacy is a meaningful way to be remembered.

Why do people choose to leave a legacy?

People leave a legacy to support the causes and organisations that have played an important role in their lives. Leaving a legacy is a way to ‘pay it forward’, to express gratitude for the things that have mattered most in your life, and to serve others.

Leaving a legacy is an expression of faith in the future. It reflects a belief that life is to be lived for a higher cause than self-interest. Leaving a legacy is a way to be remembered as having lived a meaningful life.

Leaving a legacy helps to create hope out of sadness.

What sort of a legacy can I leave?

There are many ways you can leave a legacy. You can:

  • Make a single lump sum payment
  • Sponsor an annual scholarship
  • Donate monthly payments from an account managed by a family member
  • Donate interest payments from an investment
  • Fund a specific project
  • Offer a grant

How can I arrange to leave a legacy?

There are several ways you can express your wish to leave a legacy. Begin by telling close friends and loved ones of your plans. They can help you make arrangements with specific organisations and assist with the management of your funds after you have gone.

You can make a declaration in your Will and stipulate the direction, the amount and the frequency of your legacy donations.

If you have a specific organisation or cause in mind, consult their website. Most charity and research organisations include information about leaving a bequest online.

How do I choose an area of legacy?

When choosing an area of legacy, ask yourself these questions:

  • What has given my life meaning?
  • What do I care most about?
  • What have I benefitted from?
  • What am I most concerned about for future generations?

The answers to these questions might provide you with an indication of the area towards which you would like to direct your legacy.

Where can I direct my legacy?

After pondering the big questions about legacy, it might be helpful to begin to categorise your thoughts according to the causes they reflect.

The categories of organisations that would benefit from your memorial donation are numerous. Here are some broad categories you might like to consider:


You can support our less fortunate brothers and sisters who suffer the consequences of difficult economic, social or political circumstances. Making a contribution to emergency aid and relief work, in response to natural disasters, is another way to assist humanitarian causes.

The Arts

You could support a local theatre group, a national dance company, or a circus school. You could provide a scholarship for singing tuition or sponsor an actor’s prize.

Memorial donations can contribute to art prizes, or be offered as a grant to support a specific style of art you admire.

Animal Welfare

Leave a legacy bequest with an animal welfare group so they can continue to provide rescue and rehoming services for lost and injured animals.


Contribute towards medical research, rehabilitation or disability management in an area that has touched your family. Donate to a medical facility you have visited, or spent time in, to reflect your gratitude for the care you received.

Community Sports Clubs

Leave a lump sum donation to help provide equipment for the local netball, surfing or football club. Make a bequest payment so your favourite sporting team can upgrade their facilities.

Environmental Groups

Sponsor a tree-planting programme or donate a park bench so others can sit and enjoy the environment in your local community. And of course, there are many national and global environmental causes that you or your loved one may be passionate about.

Literacy & Education Programmes

Provide funds for a specific programme of literacy or educational support. You could choose to support children, adults, asylum seekers or migrants through a literacy, language or cultural development programmes.

Show your support for established, or emerging authors, and use your legacy donation to provide a literary award. Local libraries and writers’ groups would be keen to hear from you.

Mission Work

Often religious in nature, this work aims to bring the ‘Good News’ to fellow humans in Australian and overseas communities. Some teach, some do good works, some do both, but all are an expression the importance of one’s faith. Indeed your gifts may be to your local church.

Bethel Funerals is a not-for-profit organisation. We choose to direct our profits to support mission, humanitarian and community projects. When you entrust us with a funeral you will be invited to nominate where your legacy will be directed. For further information regarding Bethel’s legacy programme, please refer to the honouring legacies pages of our website.

How would you like to be remembered? Our article Leaving a Legacy provides further information regarding your options for remembrance through legacy.