Glossary of Terms

Accountant – A professional who specializes in the practice of accounting and is responsible for managing and reporting financial results for a company or an individual.

Asset – Property of any kind, including real and personal property, (land, money, shares etc.) which a person owns or has an interest in ownership.

Beneficiary – A person or organization who may receive a benefit under a Will, life insurance policy, trust or other instrument.

Bequest – A gift under a Will or trust to a particular beneficiary.

Charitable Bequest – A gift under a Will or trust to a particular charitable organization.

Charitable Giving – The act of voluntarily giving a part of your assets to a charitable organization.

Charitable Receipt – Also called official donation receipt or tax receipt. A receipt given by a registered charity that is subject to particular requirements under the Income Tax Act. This receipt can be used for income tax purposes and benefits.

Estate – Everything that a person owns or has a financial interest in at the moment after their death. May include real property (fixed– and, buildings) and personal property (movable–art, stocks) in which a person has a right or interest.

Estate Plan – The process of accumulating and disposing of an estate to maximize the goals of the estate owner. The main goal of estate planning usually is  arranging for the greatest amount of the estate to pass to the estate owner’s intended beneficiaries. This often includes paying the least amount of taxes. Other goals may include providing for and designating guardians for minor children.

Estate Planner – A professional who specializes in creating an estate plan. The professional works with the person who wishes to create an estate plan to maximize their goals, minimize taxes, and reduce expense and frustration of beneficiaries.

Financial Planner – A professional who specializes in helping people deal with personal finances through planning in the following areas: cash flow management, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, risk management and insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning and business planning.

Gift – A voluntary transfer of property.

Gift Planner – Someone who works with donors and their professional advisors and/or their favourite charity to achieve maximum benefit for both the donor and the charity from a planned charitable gift. Also see Planned Giving Officer.

Insurance Broker – Usually an independent representative of insurance companies. This professional might advise on financial concerns related to any type of insurance, and be able to advise as to the best insurance product available to meet the client’s needs.

Irrevocable Trust – A trust that, once created, cannot be terminated or changed by the person creating it. (the Settlor).

Legacy – Generally refers to a specific bequest in a Will to a beneficiary or charity.

Legislation – In Canada the Income Tax Act provides guidelines on the proper way to give so that individuals may claim donations on their final income tax return.

Lawyer – A professional who specializes in the practice of law. Can assist clients in developing an estate plan.

Not-for-Profit Organization – An association, club, or society operating exclusively for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, recreation, or any other purpose except profit. A not-for-profit organization is not a registered charity and cannot issue an official tax receipt.

Notary Public – A professional who is licensed to perform certain services in the province, for example, they may execute a powers of attorney or assist in real estate transactions.

Personal Property –  All property other than land and buildings, also referred to as “personalty.”

Philanthropy – The act of donating money, goods, time or effort to support a charitable cause, usually over an extended period of time and in regard to a defined objective. Philanthropy may entail activity that promotes a concern for human welfare and advancement.

Planned Gift/Planned Giving/Gift Planning – A way of giving to charity and arranging donations that serve the interests of the charitable organization and also suit the personal, financial, and tax situation of the individual donor.

Planned Giving Officer (also see Gift Planner) – Someone who works with donors and their professional advisors and/or their favourite charity to achieve maximum benefit for both the donor and the charity from a planned charitable gift.

Registered Charity – A not for profit organization that can receive a tax number for donations and issue tax receipts. A registered charity can include a charitable organization, a pubic foundation, a private foundation as well as several other entities listed in the Income Tax Act.

Stock Broker – A licensed professional or firm who buys and sells shares, stocks, or investments.

Tax Benefits – Registered charities in Canada are regulated by the Canada Revenue Agency under the Income Tax Act. Under the act, donations to registered charities may help reduce your individual income tax. Tax credits are calculated as a percentage of the eligible amount of donation you make. For more information please visit

Will – Often referred to as the Last Will and Testament, a Will is a written document that expresses a person’s final wishes concerning the disposition of his or her estate following death.