Suppose you have a powerful tool to change your part of the world. What does it look like? Maybe it’s a magic wand, a mystical sword power or an enchanted ring.
What if you learned there is such a tool? Would you use it?
There is a real one and it has nothing to do with magic – it’s in your will and your choice to give to charity.
As the Will Power website states, “A gift in a will can turn that ordinary Canadian into an extraordinary philanthropist.”
Plan for the future.
Colin Flannigan is an associate with FH&P Lawyers in Kelowna and a member of the KGH Foundation’s Planned Giving Committee.
“Fiscal responsibility is different for everyone, and a will can be customized to suit you and your family,” he says, adding, “A will is part of an estate plan and should meet your current goals as well as plan for what the future may hold. If prepared carefully, you can plan for future loved ones. You can also plan for what type of legacy you and your family may want to leave.”
Most Canadians aged 19 to 55 think they are too young for a will. Not true!
They worry about it being complicated or expensive. They also don’t see the assets they have beyond cash and investments, like pets, crypto and digital media.
Assumptions or myths: We’re here to help myth-bust a few.
Nicole Watson is a CPA and founder of Watson Chartered Professional Accountant Services Inc. She is also a member of the KGH Foundation’s Planned Giving Committee.
“There are several assumptions or myths that can get in the way of someone making the choice to leave a charitable gift in their will,” she says. “But, as I discuss with my clients, tax planning isn’t just about figuring out how to pay taxes efficiently.”
Let’s bust a few myths with Nicole and Colin.
Myth No. 1: “I’m young and I have lots of time to make a will.”
“As an adult of any age, if you don’t have a will then there is no one to administer your estate if you pass away, which can be problematic for any size of estate,” says Nicole. “Without a will, no one can access funds from your bank account to pay for any expenses (medical bills, funeral costs, legal costs) and family may initially have to rely on their own funds to engage a lawyer, pay ongoing costs (rent, utilities, funeral) and apply to administer your estate.”
A will is where you state your intentions for the future guardianship of your minor children and/or your pets.
“Making a solid estate plan and will can provide you with the peace of mind knowing that when you are no longer around, your family will be taken care of – including your animal companions,” adds Nicole.
You may assume you’ll outlive your non-human companion. People with kids clearly think about the future of the children, but not everyone is aware that, as a resident of British Columbia, owning pets and support animals creates a special situation. The Wills, Estates and Succession Act treats pets as part of the residue of your estate. They are treated the same as your home or jewellery. With a will you can make specific arrangements to ensure your pets won’t be put in a shelter or, worse, be euthanized.
Myth No. 2: “I don’t have enough assets to bother with a will.”
Nicole hears this frequently from her clients.
“It can be relatively easy to forget about investments that have appreciated in value, like an RRSP or even a small life insurance policy,” she says. “But without a will, you could be creating a tax burden on those who survive you.”
Estate planning can help your estate and heirs through tax reduction strategies like naming a charity as the beneficiary of a registered plan or insurance policy. When you designate a charity as the beneficiary of your TFSA, RRSP or RRIF, your estate can claim a charitable tax credit that will offset a portion of the tax payable on the value of your registered plan. Similarly, a life insurance policy bequeathed to a charity allows your estate to receive a donation receipt for the amount of the death benefit.
Make a difference. It’s a simple and easy decision.
The KGH Foundation is fortunate to have a dedicated community of support, including Randy Jones, a good friend of the foundation and a volunteer. He has chosen to leave a charitable gift in his will to the KGH Foundation and, in his own words, he explains why.
“I have lived in the community of Kelowna for more than 30 years and I know that it is impossible not to be touched by Kelowna General Hospital and the work that goes on there,” says Randy. “KGH is sewn into the fabric of the community. As a family member, an entrepreneur, and a volunteer, many people I love and myself have been touched by its care.”
Randy says most people leave their estate to their kids.
“But there is also the question of what else we can do to make things better after we are gone – to address the larger component of community support.
“When my wife and I were looking at what we could bequeath, as a couple without children, we wanted to give to organizations we see as truly worthy. And it is so clear to us that the KGH Foundation is paramount to the success of the hospital.
“The medical system is under strain and it needs us all to consider what we can do about this and how we help,” adds Randy. “We can’t be sure when we’ll need it in our lifetime, but we – all of us – almost certainly will. And after I am gone, I am giving my support for the benefit of others. To know that we can make a difference through a bequest after we are gone is actually pretty simple and an easy decision to make. And for that we are truly grateful.”
You too have the power to make magic happen, no matter what your age or how few your assets. Make a will today and flex the power of your final wishes – and your will power.
Giving changes everything.
The KGH Foundation has partnered with Will Power, a national public education campaign designed to inspire Canadians to think differently about charitable giving and empower them to create positive change through their wills.
For more information about making a bequest in your will to the KGH Foundation, or to use the Legacy Calculator, visit our Will Power landing page or call Colleen Cowman, our director of planned giving, at 250-862-4300, ext. 27011.
Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the B.C. Interior.
Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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