Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Leaving A Gift

Do I have to include my wish to leave a gift to a specific organization in my Will?

To be certain that the charity receives the gift, you must state your intention in your Will. Without a Will, however, you have no control over your belongings after death. Your property and finances will be settled according to provincial laws-regardless of your intent.

Must I have an estate in order to leave a gift?

"Estate" is simply a term used to describe any property, money or personal belongings that you have at the time of your death. Most people lhave some assets when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth. It's also important to remember that there is no such thing as an insignificant gift. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift from his or her estate - no matter how large or small.

How do I leave a gift for an organization that I admire?

There are many ways of leaving a gift - the most common being through a Will. Some people specify a certain dollar amount, while others leave a percentage of their estate or any assets that would be left over after they have provided for their families. You can also leave property, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, or other kinds of gifts.

How do I leave a gift in memory of a person or for a specified purpose?

A charitable gift is a meaningful way of recognizing someone who has made a difference in your life. You may also want to give to a specific cause like research or a new building. These kinds of memorial gifts can be arranged in your Will. You should specify that the gift be given in memory of a particular person or for a specific use.

Do I tell the charity I've left the gift?

This is entirely up to you. Many charities like to know of planned gifts so they can recognize your generosity. They can tell you about specific opportunities for giving. They can also assure you that your wishes can be fulfilled. Still, whether you let the charity know of your plans or not, the decision is yours to make.

Can I leave a gift to charity without taking away from what I leave my immediate heirs?

Absolutely. There are many ways to fulfil your charitable goals while still providing for your family and other loved ones. Many vehicles for planned giving, such as life insurance, allow you to leave a variety of gifts to both a charity and family members, all the while providing tax benefits to you.