McLellan Herbert, Barristers & Solicitors
McLellan Herbert, Barristers & Solicitors
Serving Clients’ Estate Planning And Litigation Needs
TOLL FREE 800-449-4858 LOCAL 604-901-5186

How to leave a legacy of giving

When people think about creating an estate plan, they often assume it’s only necessary if you have complex assets, unique family situations or specific distribution wishes. However, estate planning is not just about assets or providing for family; it’s about the values and causes you hold dear.

This sentiment is only growing among Canadians. According to reports, there has been a significant increase in the number of Canadians who include or plan to include donations in their wills.

Strategies for philanthropic goals 

When you decide to include charitable giving in your estate plan, you’re crafting a legacy that resonates with compassion and generosity. Because every person has different causes they care about and resources to give, there are several routes that you can take to accomplish your charitable goals.

Here are some strategies to ensure your philanthropic visions come to life:

  • Designate charitable beneficiaries: Directly name your preferred charities in your will or trust.
  • Create a charitable trust: Establish a trust that provides for your chosen charity while offering tax benefits.
  • Gift life insurance: Name a charity as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
  • Donate real estate: Leave property to a charity, which can be a significant asset to them.

These and other strategies can allow you to give to the causes that matter to you and maximise your gifts.

The consequences of omission 

Failing to include philanthropic directions in your estate plan can lead to missed opportunities:

  • Your values may not be reflected in the distribution of your assets.
  • You could lose potential tax advantages for your estate and beneficiaries.
  • Charities that rely on donations could miss out on critical support.

Further, if you do not include specific instructions for planned giving, your family and beneficiaries can struggle to decide how to honour your legacy or argue over gifts.

Incorporating planned giving of any size into your estate plan is a profound way to ensure your legacy aligns with your values.

Philanthropy can play a crucial role in your planning goals and make a tremendous difference in the lives of others. If charitable giving is something you want to include in your legacy, consider discussing how to preserve your planned giving wishes with an experienced lawyer.