You Can’t Take It with You: The Benefits of Giving to Charity in Your Will

A couple discussing their will

Jean Robichaud* remarried after spending several years as a widower. This happy change of circumstance meant he needed to update his will. However, when he and his wife sat down to talk about it, she explained that she didn’t wish to inherit anything. Jean knew he wanted to leave some of his assets to his grown children, but they were doing well financially and didn’t need more than a small amount. He thought about refocusing his estate plans on philanthropy…but he had no idea where to start. A friend suggested he contact Abundance Canada for guidance.

I met with Jean and helped him think through the questions he was wrestling with. How did he want to divide the estate? What values did he want his will to reflect? What charities was he interested in supporting?

Model Your Values in your will

More than just a statement of what to do with your valuables, your will is also your final statement of values. Jean volunteered with various local charities, and he made regular donations to his church and to their international charity organization. He had made a point of living generously over the years, and he wanted his will to reflect those values.

I helped Jean map out a legacy giving plan. As we worked together, he was surprised to discover the many benefits of donating to charity in his will.

Support the Charities You Care About in your will

Leaving a gift to charity in your will blesses the organizations you care about. Your gift can be a specific amount, a percentage, a specific asset, or the residual amount of your estate. Jean was pleased that the charities he cared about would continue to receive his support after he was no longer there to write the cheques.

Making his charitable donation through Abundance Canada gave Jean added flexibility. He could add new charities to his legacy donation (or subtract those he no longer wished to support) without having to meet with his lawyer and incur the expense of updating his will. In addition, the donations from his estate could be made anonymously. He didn’t have to donate the entire amount at once either, Abundance Canada gave him the option to maintain his current pattern of giving and make regular donations from the estate over time.

Save on Taxes by Giving to Charity

Donating to charity in your will reduces the tax owed by your estate. The exact value of the non-refundable tax credits for your charitable donation is calculated based on your income in the year the donation is claimed. Your estate will receive a donation receipt for the amount of your gift, reducing or even eliminating final taxes.

Simplify for the Executor

Generous people often support many charities but naming a few or all of them in your will can create a great deal of work for your executor and processing multiple donations can incur significant legal fees. Working with Abundance Canada, your executor only needs to manage a single donation for you to give to all the charities you care about.

Instead of naming one or more charities in your will, you can name Abundance Canada as the beneficiary. On a Distribution Recommendation form, separate from your will, you can instruct Abundance Canada of how you want your gift distributed, to what charities and over what time period. They will continue to manage your designated gifts even after your estate has been finalized.

Jean appreciated that his executor would have an easier time, reduced legal fees would leave more money in the estate, and Abundance Canada, the organization he trusted, would make sure his donations were distributed to all the charities he wanted.

After working through the details together, Jean was ready to put his generosity plan into action. He left my office confident and ready to meet with his lawyer and financial advisor.

Whether your estate is large or small, gift planning consultants like me and my colleagues at Abundance Canada are ready to help you and your family explore adding a charitable gift to your will. You might be surprised how this simple act of generosity might benefit your estate and leave a wonderful legacy.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the individual

Contributed by Brad Friesen
Gift Planning Consultant

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