Leaving a gift in your Will – Q&A

by | Interesting |

Guest Q&A with Daniel Hicks, Barrister & Solicitor 

 Why is it important to have a Will and when is it best to complete one in your lifetime? 

A Will can only be done during one’s lifetime. There are very few things we can control in life, but one of the main things we can control is to set out a plan for the distribution of what is left when we are no longer on this Earth.   

Without a Will, the money does not automatically go to the Government. But the Government legislation will determine the destination of your Estate if you do not make a Will. 

What is a charitable bequest? 

A bequest, whether to a charity or a person is merely your direction to deliver an amount, or an item to a particular person or entity, upon one’s death. 

Who can a prospective donor go to in order to establish a charitable bequest or any other type of planned gift that best suits their situation? 

The best person to consult about a Will and to make a Will is a lawyer or professional who deals with estate planning in whom you have confidence. 

Which charity can I leave a bequest to and how many charities can I name as beneficiaries at once? 

You would normally leave a bequest to a charity that is doing work that you strongly support.  You can name as many charities as you like, but it is best to leave money to organizations whose work and administration are well known to you and of which you approve. 

What are the most common types of planned gifts that I can leave in my Will?  

The most common bequest is a cash amount. But specific stocks, investments or properties can also be left. 

What is the difference between a specific bequest and a residual bequest? 

A specific bequest provides either a specific amount or item to the charity. A residual bequest is often a percentage, and that residue is really an unknown until the taxes and other related debts of the deceased are paid. 

How are planned gifts paid out and what are the tax benefits of these gifts? 

After the Certificate of Appointment is obtained (probate) the Estate Trustee can then administer the Estate and do the various tax returns. The legacies can be paid when funds are freed up. The donations to the charities are met with letters of great gratitude and tax receipts that can be carried to the final return or the Trust Returns thereafter.   

Who should I advise of my plans? 

You can certainly tell your family about your plans. It is always good to let them know your love for the charity you choose and how you wish to give back and leave your legacy. One would argue it is a private matter but to avoid family being surprised at the end, it is always a wise choice to keep them in the loop.   

It is also very important to let the charity know when you have completed your Will. It is a good idea to contact the charities whom you have bequeathed and share this information with them. They are always very grateful for this knowledge and will thank and honor your generosity as you wish.