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Ways to Give

A Gift in your Will (Bequest)

A charitable bequest is simply a gift made in your will.

When you include a gift in your will, you can direct the gift to support a particular charitable program or activity. Or, you can allow the charity to decide how best to use the gift to support their greatest needs at that time. It is also important to use the correct legal name of the charity you would like to support. We recommend that you contact the charity directly to ensure your gift is directed where you intended and to make sure your wishes can be met.

Types of Bequests

There are different kinds of bequests including donating a specific sum of money, a percentage or portion of your estate, a transfer of securities or a gift of real estate. For each, you must use very specific language to indicate the precise distribution of your assets.

Here are a few examples:

A specific dollar amount or a particular asset is bequeathed. (e.g., $5,000, 100 shares of XYZ Company or 100 Anywhere Street, Nova Scotia)

This gift amount is what is left over in your estate, or a percentage of it, after all other gifts, debts, expenses and taxes have been paid. (e.g., the entire residue of your estate or 20% of the residue of your estate)

This gift allows you to leave your entire estate, or a portion of, to a particular charity if your named beneficiary does not survive you.

Specific Bequests

Residual Bequests

Contingent Bequests

Benefits

A well-prepared, up-to-date will is essential to ensure your future gift is exactly what you want it to be. We encourage you to talk to your professional advisor and your charity of choice. They will be able to help you decide which option(s) will work best for you and your family and will be able to provide you specific language to use. Download Sample Bequest Language (PDF)

A tax receipt will be issued to your estate for the amount of cash left to the organization or for the fair market value of property given.

You have the ability to provide future support to the charity of your choice with minimal impact to your current financial situation.

Life Insurance

Donating life insurance is an economical vehicle for giving a financially larger gift to a charity without substantially drawing on your current assets.

By giving through life insurance, you can make a significant future gift with only a small annual or monthly cost. There are several ways of leaving a legacy using life insurance and the tax savings are different for each. 

  • Assigning an existing policy so the charity becomes owner and beneficiary; 
    You will receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the policy at the time when you assign the policy and, if premiums are still payable, you will also receive tax receipts for all premiums you continue to pay for the policy.
     
  • Purchasing a new policy with the charity as owner and beneficiary; 
    You will receive a tax receipt for all premiums you continue to pay for the policy.
     
  • Naming the charity as the beneficiary, but not the owner, of a new or existing policy; 
    Your estate will receive a tax receipt for the amount of policy proceeds received by the charity and therefore a tax credit that can be used in your final tax return. A tax receipt will not be available to you for premiums paid for the policy during your lifetime.
     
  • Naming a charity as the beneficiary, but not the owner, of your policy through your will. 
    Your estate will receive a tax receipt for the amount of policy proceeds received by the charity and therefore a tax credit that can be used in your final tax return. A tax receipt will not be available to you for premiums paid for the policy during your lifetime. To ensure that the results will be as you intended, please consult with your insurance company as well as your financial and legal advisors to ensure that the beneficiary designation of the policy and the clause in your will are properly completed.

Benefits
You receive a tax receipt, significantly reducing the cost of the premiums if the charity is the owner and beneficiary of the policy.
The gift removes the policy proceeds from your estate, resulting in lower estate-related fees in the future.
You can make a significant charitable gift of the policy proceeds through payments of relatively small premiums over several years.
This type of gift will have minimal impact to your current financial situation.

Annuities

A charitable gift annuity is an arrangement where you transfer a lump sum to a charity, usually through an annuity issuer such as a life insurance company. In exchange, you receive an immediate tax receipt as well as fixed, guaranteed income for life or for a term of years. Depending, your annuity income may be partly or fully tax-free. There are several types of annuities: 

  1. Gift Plus Annuity 
    Through a Gift Plus Annuity arrangement, you purchase a commercial annuity that provides a specified guaranteed annuity payment to you, for life or for a specified term, and use the excess funds to make a current gift to the registered charity of your choice. 
    The charity will issue a tax receipt for the amount of the current gift you make to the charity. In addition to the tax receipt, you can also increase your non-taxable income, as, depending on your age, your annuity income may be partly or fully tax-free.
     
  2. Charitable Insured Annuity 
    Through a Charitable Insured Annuity arrangement, you purchase a commercial annuity from a life insurance company and then use part of the monthly annuity income to pay the premiums on a life insurance policy that has the registered charity as the owner and beneficiary. Upon your death, the charity receives the proceeds of the life insurance policy. 
    With this type of arrangement, you receive income from the annuity (often enhanced as compared to what you would receive from other investment vehicles) as well as tax credits for the insurance premiums you pay. You can use the tax credits to offset tax payable on your income and thus have a higher after-tax income.
     
  3. Charity Self Assured  Annuity 
    A gift using an annuity can also be made by donating cash or other property to certain registered charities that are permitted to issue annuities, in exchange for a guaranteed lifetime income (or for a specified term). This type of annuity is an agreement directly between you and the charity. Upon death, the charity would use the remainder of the original contribution for its charitable purposes.

Benefits:

Tax benefits range depending on the annuity arrangement

You receive guaranteed payments for life (or a term of years), all or substantially tax-free