In Estate Planning on Monday 9th Mar, 2020

‘How my work as a teacher influenced my will’

Dorothy Hoddinott, 76, had a long career supporting people in need, and she’s made sure she will continue to do that beyond her lifetime.

Supporting less fortunate people is an issue close to Dorothy Hoddinott’s heart. For 23 years, she was the Principal of Holroyd High School, a lower socio-economic school in Western Sydney, where she helped her students achieve their goals, rebuild their lives and have hope for the future. Now Dorothy is sharing her story and explaining what motivated her to make a generous choice when it came to planning her estate.

Dorothy’s story

When you get to a certain age it’s important to start considering your will and how you allocate a lifetime of accumulated assets. Keeping my will up to date has always been a priority of mine. It’s something that I believe I should revisit regularly. I think it would be negligent not to have a will —your money and your assets could go to a beneficiary you haven’t chosen.

I don’t have any children. My husband died 20 years ago. Most of my relatives are not in need of a boost from me, and there’s no reason why I should leave anything to people I’m related to simply because I’m related to them.

I asked myself how my will could have the greatest value and impact and including a bequest to a charitable organisation was part of that. In looking at the distribution of my assets, I thought they could best be used by charitable organisations that look to the interests of people less well off than I am.

I decided to leave some of my assets to Australia for UNHCR, an organisation that is very close to my heart. Australia for UNHCR provides valuable support for refugees who are displaced across the world by providing protection, water, food, shelter, education and healthcare – when there is a humanitarian crisis, UNHCR is there on the ground.

As teachers, we have a duty of care for the children we work with. In my professional life, I’ve been working with young refugees ever since the mid-1970s, when we saw a significant number of Indo-Chinese refugees come to Australia. I have taught these children and heard their stories – some of which are heart-wrenching, dreadful stories – and have made every effort to give those children a boost into a better life.

But beyond that, I just couldn’t turn my back on the injustice and unfairness I was seeing young refugees suffer, I couldn’t ignore the inequality. There are so many people displaced around the world – over 70 million – and the reality is that very few of those people will ever be resettled permanently despite their aspiration to change their situation and create a better life for themselves.

The humanitarian work that Australia for UNHCR does and the hope that it can give people — is so valuable and life-saving. I wanted to help too, on the global scale, by donating to Australia for UNHCR.

By remembering Australia for UNHCR in your will, you too can make a lasting impact on the lives of families forced to leave their homes in search of safety. Your generous gift will ensure they continue to receive vital support, long beyond your lifetime.

The process is simple, and only takes a few minutes. The Australia for UNHCR website has a script that you can add to your will, detailing how much you’d like to leave and any other details. Your solicitor will also be able to help with this, if you need a little extra guidance.

When we support these people, who may have nothing but the clothes on their back, we’re doing something to alleviate their suffering. They need our help – especially the millions of children who deserve to have hope for the future.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

Your will can be their refuge

Beyond your lifetime, you will be providing protection, food, water, shelter, education and healthcare to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Get involved today.


What humanitarian cause do you care deeply about? Would you consider leaving a gift in your will to a charity that works in that space?

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