Westcoast Wills & Estates Article

Three steps to giving

Jeremy Wong, Westcoast Wills & Estates

Leaving a legacy allows you to make your mark on this world but with the growing number of charities and the varying methods of giving, where do you start?

Make a list of charities based on your values and conduct some research to learn more about them.

Step 1: Determine what is important to you

Make a list of charities based on your values and conduct some research to learn more about them. An important resource is the Canada Revenue Agency charities list. This website provides detailed information on all registered charities in Canada, including their annual financial returns. Important questions to ask while examining this information include: How does this charity impact the community? What type of programs does this charity operate? What percentage of my donation goes towards funding the programs that are important to me?

Step 2: Determine what you would like to donate

The type of asset given to a charity can be crucial. For example, will-makers and executors may want to consider gifting shares in publicly traded corporations rather than cash to take advantage of the preferential tax treatment. Where shares are donated, capital gains associated with the shares may be minimized to 0% if gifted appropriately. In order to carry out this type of planning though, it is important that your executor is given the appropriate powers to gift assets “in kind” within the will. Additionally, you may also want to have a conversation with the charity about how they will use the asset you are thinking of giving. For example, does the charity have a need for a piece of real estate or would it be more beneficial to them if they were simply given liquid assets towards their mission?

A person’s will is a common method of giving gifts to charities and will be enough for many people

Step 3: Determine how you would like to leave your legacy

A persons’ will is a common method of giving gifts to charities and will be enough for many people. It is important however, to consult an estate planning professional to ensure that you do not succumb to some common pitfalls when making gifts within a will, such as failing to accurately and sufficiently identify a charity. If you are struggling with step 1, you may want to consider alternate ways of giving, such as a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF allows you to provide money immediately (with the benefit of an immediate tax receipt) or at death to a charitable foundation but allows you to amend the charities or charitable purpose of this fund in the future, making it a flexible tool to carry out your wishes.

Speak with an estate planning professional today to plan your legacy.

Westcoast Wills & Estates

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