The heartless, uncharitable, heart charity

An unbelievable response and unconscionable waste of donor money was recently demonstrated by the National Heart Foundation.

The back story revolves around a couple of ordinary kiwi blokes, Tom and Lin.? Stuff tells us: Quote.

They were simple, working class brothers who quietly amassed a small fortune. The surviving brother left the fortune to charity. […]

Their names were as simple as their lifestyle. […]

Through careful living and canny investing, the painter and storeman built up a $5 million estate comprising shares and property.

Martin (Tom) Leo Williams, died aged 76 on March 23, 2016, of various conditions including cancer. He left his share of the fortune to brother Lindo (Lin) Arthur Williams, who died on June 25 last year, aged 81, from heart failure.

Their idea was to give most of the money to charity. The transfer should have been straightforward but it turned messy with the Heart Foundation challenging Lin’s final will.

Lin, a good cricketer and golfer in his day, left two wills. One, made in March 2010, left the residue of his estate to the National Heart Foundation. But after Tom died, Lin decided to change his will and by March last year a new will had been drafted by estate manager Danielle Coldicutt of law firm Cavell Leitch.

The new will made specific legacies to various charities. The Cancer Society was to receive $1 million. The National Heart Foundation got the residue of the estate, equivalent to several million dollars but not nearly as much as under the old will. End of quote.

Okay, fairly simple story. Two regular chaps, decide that the Heart Foundation is a worthy cause and leave the bulk of their estates to the charity.? Then Tom died and cancer was a significant cause so Lin decides to leave some of the money he inherited from Tom to the Cancer Society. Seems reasonable enough. The rest would continue to go to the Heart Foundation. Lin goes and sees his legal advisor and gets a new will drafted to this effect. Quote.

Coldicutt sent the draft to Lin’s house and followed up with phone calls. She couldn’t leave a message because the flat had no answerphone. Lin went into hospital in May and died there in June with the will unsigned.

Wills need to be signed and properly witnessed to be valid but the Wills Act allows the High Court to endorse an unsigned will if the deceased’s intention is expressed and they are mentally competent. End of quote.

Clearly, this situation applied here. All quite straightforward one would think. Quote.

Lin’s lawyers applied to validate his second will and all affected were notified. The Cancer Society supported the application and the National Heart Foundation, which stood to miss out on a substantial sum due to the change in the second will, opposed it. End of quote.

The National Heart Foundation suddenly finds out about a windfall of close to four million but thought they could wriggle through a legal loophole and get five million by knee-capping a fellow charity.


So the National Heart Foundation expends money donated for heart research on expensive lawyers in order to grab a little more dosh. Quote.

A hearing was scheduled for June but the charities reached a confidential settlement which resulted in the Heart Foundation withdrawing its opposition. It is believed the Cancer Society gave some of its legacy to the Heart Foundation. Justice Gerald Nation then made an order declaring the second will valid. […] End of quote.

What a thoroughly miserable bunch of toerags!

Another “charity” that just dropped off my support list.

Footnote:? The National Heart Foundation has put a “defence” of their actions up on their website as a result of the publicity of their shameful behaviour. Quote.

[…] we at the Heart Foundation are concerned that our approach has been misinterpreted as a desire to secure more funds than Mr Williams intended to donate to the Heart Foundation. End of quote.

Yup, got it in one!