The Covid-19 pandemic has persuaded more New Zealanders to give more and make wills, according to Radio New Zealand.

A new survey carried out by the Fundraising Institute and estate planners Perpetual Guardian has shown that New Zealanders upped their generosity during the pandemic. More than 3,000 people were surveyed and the results showed that they donated more cash and more people have left money to charities in their wills.

Michelle Berriman, the Fundraising Institute’s executive director said that the pandemic had made people realise the hardships some New Zealanders faced. Donations increased by 35.7 percent to the Givealittle fundraising website year on year to 2021.

Good causes

In addition, New Zealanders donated more to disability, mental health and environmental causes, as well as animal charities, medical research and social services.

Ms Berriman said the pandemic had spurred people on to thinking about practicalities and planning for the worst-case scenarios. It had definitely made inequality and disadvantage more obvious to people, and that those who responded to the survey were more aware of the number of people struggling to make ends meet.

Some 83,000 people are thought to have made wills during the survey period, reducing the number of New Zealanders yet to make a will from 47 percent to 45 percent. Six percent of those surveyed said they had left instruction in their will to leave money to charity, while another 21 percent said they intended to do this.

Gifts left in wills

In New Zealand, gifts left in wills average about $5,000 (about £2,500) but the survey came across one donation of $102 million (£527,000).

New Zealanders’ increase in will making during the pandemic reflects international trends, where many other countries have seen the same thing.

Perpetual Guardian chief executive called the increase in giving “stunning”, though he was still concerned that too many New Zealanders do not have wills in place when they die, which can cause difficulties for the loved ones they leave behind.

1,500 die without leaving a will

In the country, about 1,500 people die every year without having a valid will in place and while there is an upward trend in people “getting their house in order”, roughly half the population still do not have wills.

He remarked that making a will was the “single most effective, accessible and straightforward way to ensure your wishes are honoured”, and that the power of leaving a gift to charity was a significant one.

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