By Gosha G.S. Sekhon, LL.B., TEP, Principal Lawyer and Owner of Sekhon Legal Services
Fred and Helen* recently approached me to update their estate plan. One of their goals was to leave a sizeable gift to charity but with flexibility on how the gift is distributed. They had been meaning to establish this gift for years but thought the process would be complex and time-consuming.
During our initial meeting, we determined that a Donor Advised Fund (“DAF”) would be the best way to meet their short and long-term goals. A DAF is a giving account established at a public charity that allows a donor to make charitable contributions, receive immediate tax receipts and keep involved in how grants are made from the fund over time.
We then worked with a local community foundation to establish a DAF in one easy application process. The fund has allowed them to:
1) have control over bequests given out during their lifetime; and
2) provided them with tax benefits during their retirement years.
We were also able to set a foundation for their charitable legacy on death by incorporating the DAF into the couple’s Will. The DAF will receive a larger bequest on the death of the surviving spouse.
Before deciding on the route to take for meeting your charitable giving goals, it is important to consult with a trusted advisor and determine the right choice for you. Additionally, there are resources available in our community to assist you in putting a charitable giving plan together with ease and timeliness such as www.willpower.ca.
The Oakville Community Foundation issues an annual Charity Catalogue that can help you determine which organizations align best with your giving goals. They can also work with you to set up a DAF which can lay the groundwork for your long-term legacy.
Keep in mind – it does not have to be a complex process to plan a charitable gift. I encourage everyone to start today!
[This blog has been written by Ms. Sekhon as part of Ontario’s Make a Will month. Sekhon Legal Services works with clients in the Halton region and beyond, exclusively in the areas of Trusts]