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Leaving a Legacy: 8 things your favourite charity wants you to know before you go

  1. State Your Wishes
  • As many as 70% of Canadians do not have a will. In the next two decades 3.5 million Canadians are expected to die, leaving an estimated $1.5 trillion to their families and community. With only 30% of Canadians having a will, it means about 2 million Canadians will end life without a will to protect their assets.
  • Without a will, your property and finances are settled according to federal and provincial laws, which may not coincide with your wishes.
  1. Your Will is Your Last Act of Generosity
  • Canadians are very generous. 81% of Canadians contribute to charitable organizations throughout their lifetime. In 2006, 25% of Canadians filling tax returns claimed a charitable donation. These claims totalled $8.5 billion (Statistics Canada).
  • But only 7% continue this support through a gift in their will or estate plan.
  • Without a will, people lose the ability to control distribution of their estate to their chosen beneficiaries – including the charities whose work you have supported throughout your life.
  1. Every Estate Makes An Impact
  • You might think you have to be wealthy to donate to a charity. Not true. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift from their estate, regardless of its size. It can mean a great deal to a cause that is important to you.
  • Your “estate” is any property, money or personal belongings that you have accumulated throughout your lifetime. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift from their estate, regardless of its size. There is no such thing as an insignificant gift. If every adult in Canada made a will and included a bequest of just $100, millions of dollars would flow to charitable causes every year.
  1. Estate Gifts Come In Various Shapes and Sizes
  • There are many ways to give. From cash, to life insurance, to real estate. If you’re curious, learn more here: http://www.leavealegacy.ca/program/how/giving-options/
  1. Help is Available
  • Your lawyer, accountant, financial planner, or insurance agent can help you leave a gift. These professionals can tell you about tax benefits of planned gifts. You can also call the charity or the not-for-profit organization for help.
  1. The Benefit is Mutual
  • When you leave a gift in your will to a charity of your choice, you ensure the work you have supported throughout your life will continue. The charity benefits, and you benefit.
  • Your estate receives a significant tax benefit as well.
  1. Let the Charity Know
  • Letting the charity know allows them to thank you, something that charities like to do. And, if you’re willing, they can let others know about your gift. Your generosity can inspire others to do the same – helping your charity even more.
  1. Talk to Your Family
  • Make sure that your family members are aware of your intentions so they can support the achievement of your charitable goals.