• You can use your Last Will & Testament to leave a charitable gift after you pass away.
  • You don’t only need to choose family or charity — you can choose both.
  • Strategic charitable giving techniques can help you reduce the tax burden on your loved ones, while also making your gifts more impactful.

Planned Giving Strategies

Source: CC&L Private Capital

Donating through your will

There are 6 common individual planned giving strategies that you can explore. The 5 individual strategies in the outer circle can be integrated together at any point in your life and also planned for in your estate:

  1. Donations in kind and appreciated securities
  2. Donating life insurance during your lifetime or after your lifetime
  3. Assigning a charity as one of your RRSP/RRIF beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries, or even donating during your lifetime from your registered account directly to a charity or your own family foundation (without needing to pay withholding tax)
  4. Land donations — and if you have land to donate there is a lot of complexity and specialization in this type of donation, so I would encourage you to work closely with your professional advisors who have a philanthropic background
  5. Setting up a donor advised fund, also known as your family foundation charity structure, which is a fantastic way to leave a legacy for generations and create a collaborative family mission and values exercise

The last legacy-focused conversation, the circle in the middle, requires thought and planning now, but happens later. This is charitable giving in Wills, also known as bequests.

Will Power: Planning your legacy

You may have heard of a national campaign in Canada called Will Power, led by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners’ Foundation. Over 50% of Canadians do not have a Will, and there is going to be a lot of conversation to encourage Canadians to create, update, and leave a charitable gift in their Wills. I am a Founding Partner of the Will Power campaign and a Professional Advisor for the campaign and would invite a conversation to talk about your Legacy Planning!

Will Power shares that only 5% of Canadians leave a gift in their Will. With this national campaign, the long-term goal is to have 8.5% of Canadians leave a gift in their will by 2030. I know this sounds like a long time and a really small 3.5% increase, but that small increase will generate $40 billion of gifts to our charity sector. Visit for more information. It is a very easy website to use and has a lot of free resources on there. Start your conversation today and we work collaboratively with other Will Power Advisors to make sure your estate is planned out purposefully.

Remember, you don’t only need to choose family or charity, you can choose both. And even better, use these strategic charitable giving techniques to help plan your estate and reduce the tax burden for your loved ones. The CRA encourages good charitable behaviour and has endorsed all these different ways to donate to charity, but please talk to a financial professional before you do this to make sure everything is in place.

The beauty of these individual planned giving instruments is that you can combine them in a strategic way to make your legacy and planned giving have an even larger impact than doing them individually. But a good place to start is by doing some of these individual gifts.

Final three tips & tricks to leave your legacy

  1. Talk to your professional advisors (accountants, lawyers, financial professionals) about your philanthropic goals. They can help you get there in a more strategic and tax-efficient way.
  2. Use Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) to create and maintain your family legacy. DAFs are easy to administer and help keep family giving organized. They may also help solve capital gains tax burdens if you donate appreciated securities to your own DAF family foundation.
  3. Don’t practice chequebook philanthropy (that’s giving using cash, credit cards or cheques!) Give efficiently by donating appreciated securities. You get a double win by not needing to pay tax on the capital gains, and you also get a tax receipt for the donated amount. Corporate and holding company donors get a triple benefit. The two just mentioned, plus a third: the dollar amount of gains is a tax-free withdrawal from their capital dividend account.

As all of these strategies can be complex. Please consult a financial professional before making any final decisions about how you want to leave a legacy.

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About the Author

Candice Jay has over 15 years of experience in the financial industry. She is focused on helping charitable foundations and high-net-worth clients — including women, entrepreneurs and generational families — achieve their long-term financial goals. Strategic philanthropy is also an important part of Candice’s practice, and she is passionate about working with clients to identify values and areas where philanthropy can play a role.

Candice understands the importance of giving back to her community and is a current board member of the University of Toronto Alumni Association and UHN Impact Collective of UHN Hospital Foundation. She is a Founding Member of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) National Advisor Council and Founding Partner in CAGP’s pan-Canadian Will Power Campaign. Candice is a Trusted Partner at Viive Planning.

In her spare time, Candice enjoys practicing yoga, playing golf and tennis, and taking hikes with her family and golden retrievers, Sadie and Maggie.

Compliance disclaimer:

This post is made for informational purposes only and the views expressed are those of the author at the time of publication and are subject to change at any time. This post has been prepared without regard to the particular individual financial circumstances and objectives of any individual who receives it and nothing in this post constitutes, or is a substitute for, legal, accounting, tax or individually tailored investment advice. As such, as you consider this material, you should consult with independent professionals in those areas regarding your individual circumstances. This information is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities and is not to be used as a sales communication.

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