While most Canadians engage in charitable giving during their lifetimes, only a small percentage incorporate charitable gifts into their estate plans, a practice referred to as “planned giving”.

Why don’t more people participate in planned giving?

People often choose not to include charities as beneficiaries of their estate for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Some people are unprepared to commit to one or more charitable organizations.
  • Many people are concerned about leaving sufficient assets for dependents, like a spouse or children.
  • Most people are not familiar with the range of planned giving options and benefits.

Why should you consider participating in planned giving?

Despite the hesitations listed above, there are numerous reasons to integrate charitable giving into your estate plan:

  • Your estate will receive a charitable donation tax credit to offset taxes owing.
  • A charitable legacy will reflect your loyalty to the charities you supported during your lifetime.
  • You can leave as much or as little as you wish – there is no minimum gift threshold.
  • You can donate to a specific cause or purpose that is important to you or allow the charity to apply Your gift to the causes or needs that are relevant at your death.
  • You can even leave it to your executors to select charities based on those that you supported during your lifetime.

How can you participate in planned giving?

If you decide you would like to leave a testamentary charitable gift, you have several options including, without limitation, the following:

  • You may leave a specific bequest which is simple and certain.
  • You may leave a share of the residue of your Estate which is relative to the extent of your assets at the time.
  • You may leave a gift of appreciated securities which maximize the size of your gift while minimizing the capital gains tax payable by your estate.
  • You may contribute to an endowment fund or fulfill a lifetime charitable pledge.
  • You may even designate one or more charities as beneficiaries of your life insurance policies, RRSPs or RRIFs.

How can we help?

At Mills & Mills LLP, our estate lawyers can help you to integrate your charitable giving intentions into your Wills and overall estate plan. To learn more about how we may be able to assist you please reach out to us online or by telephone at (416) 863-0125.

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