Have You Made the Plan of Your Life?

Monday 13 July 2020

You’ve probably planned what you’ll eat for dinner tonight. Maybe you know what you’ll be doing this weekend, or you’ve plotted out your next holiday for once the pandemic ends.

Yet we’re guessing you haven’t planned what will happen to your belongings at the end of your life. If that’s true, you’re not alone – more than half of Australian adults do not have a Will.

It’s hard to think about death, and even harder to talk about it. It’s not surprising that many of us haven’t spoken with our loved ones about our final wishes, but it’s essential that we push through that discomfort and have the talk.

Without a Will, you risk leaving your family out in the cold if you pass away unexpectedly. Even worse, your loved ones could be left with confusing paperwork, legal battles and moral quandaries if they have to fight for your estate or try to guess what your wishes might have been.

Even if you don’t have many assets (and you probably have more than you realise), we at Vinnies always recommend drawing up an ironclad will with a solicitor. Not only can this secure the financial future of your loved ones; it can also ensure your own legacy.

Many people choose to leave a gift to Vinnies in their Will, an incredible gesture which directly touches the lives of countless others. Gifts in wills enable us to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness; put food on the table for families living in poverty; support women experiencing domestic violence to escape danger; make communities more accessible for people living with disability; visit the sick and the elderly to check up on their wellbeing; and so much more.

It’s a real and meaningful way to ensure your values live on beyond your lifetime, passing on a legacy of compassion and hope.


Vince’s story

With a name suitably matching our own, Vincent Michael Ryan had a long and selfless commitment to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Born in the southern Sydney suburb of Hurstville on the first day of spring in 1938, Vince was schooled locally at St Mary Star of the Sea Primary, and then Marist Brothers in Kogarah, showing an aptitude for arithmetic that would lead him into a career in the banking industry. It would also equip him to provide financial counselling to many hundreds of people who would come to Vinnies at times of need, seeking assistance with their personal and household budgets.

A young Vince Ryan.

In his late twenties, Vince began volunteering with Vinnies – a hobby that became a passion, lasting more than 50 years. His service was tireless and included volunteering at the Mathew Talbot Hostel, visiting inmates at Long Bay Gaol, making hospital and home visits to the sick and needy, and organising and distributing Christmas hampers for poor families and pensioners.

In the interim he fathered three children, Maria, Paul and Karen, and was later blessed with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

When Vince passed away in September 2016, more than 200 people attended his funeral – proof that he had left his mark on many lives.

His generous decision to leave a gift to Vinnies means his legacy lives on, and he is still making his mark.

Vince in the uniform of his beloved lawn bowls club.

In December 2019 at the Vinnies Annual Mass in Sydney, Vince’s brother John (a dedicated Vinnies member himself) carried the Book of Gratitude in his memory. The Book records the names of the many kind benefactors who have left a bequest to the St Vincent de Paul Society. We take some special time at this big mass each year to remember each of them and give thanks for the crucial role they play in enabling our work today.


What’s your legacy?

If you are interested in leaving a gift in your Will, Vinnies can connect you with an honorary solicitor free-of-charge. Cherie McKenna, our Gifts in Wills & Estates Manager, is also available for a confidential chat about your plans and wishes, and to answer any questions.

To discuss leaving a gift to Vinnies in your Will, please contact Cherie on (02) 8622 0387 or bequests@vinnies.org.au.