Most of us have one or more favourite charities. We live in a wonderful country and we have a social safety net. However, there are some very important needs that the government cannot completely meet. For example, although we have an excellent medical system in this country, some long-term solutions require our involvement. People do not pay for their cancer treatment, but a cure for cancer is certainly a worthy charity that’s deserving of support.
Other people have some serious financial challenges. The government does provide, but those in need require other help, such as food banks. Other non-profit initiatives, such as charities that help our animal friends, have a lot of support from interested persons but are not always able to get government funding.
“For all these needs, this is where you come in,” says Vernon lawyer Robert Culos. “Some of us are able to provide periodic gifts to worthy charities. Some of us have to wait until the worldly wealth we have accumulated is passed on. If that’s the case, it’s important to remember that each of us can leave an important legacy in our Will.”
So many ways to leave a legacy
A person doesn’t have to be wealthy in order to make a difference. Even a modest gift – say, $1,000 – can provide significant help, Culos notes.
And remember, a legacy is so much more than gifting assets.
”A person can, in their Will or in a letter kept with their Will, provide encouragement and warm wishes for the helpers who make our world a better place. People who volunteer in the non-profit sector always need to receive our best wishes and are particularly touched when a person leaves a charitable gift in the most important document they will ever sign – their Will,” Culos says.
If you have accumulated investments, it’s important that your giving strategy considers that the Canada Revenue Agency, through the Income Tax Act of Canada, provides advantages for certain types of giving.
“For example, if a person owns company stocks when they die, their estate must normally pay capital gains if they’ve gone up in value. If, however, these same company stocks are gifted to a charity, the charity can give a receipt for the full value but the estate does not have to declare the capital gain. Check with your accountant for further details,” Culos notes.
Many great Canadian institutions, such as universities, hospitals and other public resources, have been able to achieve and maintain world-class status because Canadians have been generous through their estate plans. You can go online to find more information, or discuss this with your lawyer when you create your estate plan.
To learn more about estate planning and charitable giving, contact Culos & Co. Law at