A Will

How it Works

A Will is a formal legal document in which you specify how you wish your property to be disposed of after death. If you should die without a Will, your lifetime accumulation of wealth will be distributed according to provincial laws, regardless of your intent. Fortunately, making a Will is not complicated when it is done with legal assistance.

Providing for a charitable gift in your Will can easily be accomplished by including a bequest to the charity of your choice. "Bequest" is simply a term used to describe a gift in your will specifying that a certain percentage of your estate, a particular asset, or a specific dollar amount is to be directed to a named beneficiary.

While there are currently no estate or inheritance taxes in Canada, there are certain "deemed dispositions" and income taxes payable under the Income Tax Act that can create tax liabilities. A charitable bequest, however, can provide significant tax advantages to your estate.

When you make a bequest to charity, your estate is entitled to a gift receipt for the full value of the bequest. If the total bequest exceeds 100% of the net income on your final tax return, the excess may be carried back to the previous tax year.

What to Do

A bequest can be for an unrestricted or designated gift in the form of cash, property or securities. It can also take the form of a "residual legacy" whereby a charity receives all or a portion of whatever remains of your estate after all debts, taxes, expenses and other bequests have been dispensed. Should you wish to make a bequest through your Will, you can contact a lawyer to assist you with the appropriate legal wording.

Benefits to You

  • You have the use of your assets during your lifetime.
  • There are many options to ensure that your bequest is personally meaningful.
  • Your estate receives a tax receipt.
  • A bequest is a revocable gift and can be altered at any time should your circumstances change.