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What will your legacy be?

What will your legacy be?

Death is a fact of life. Because the transition from life to death is an unknown, humans are full of fear. And fear drives us to avoidance. Even though there has been increasing media attention to end-of-life issues recently, we seem to live in a death-phobic, death-avoidance culture. While our television, movie and video game screens are often filled with images of violent death. And news reports remind us every day of various threats to life.

Can we shift our perceptions to think about our Legacy instead of our deaths? May is Leave a Legacy month in Canada.

May is national LEAVE A LEGACY™ month across Canada. LEAVE A LEGACY™ is a national public awareness program designed to encourage Canadians to leave a gift, primarily through their Will, to a charity of their choice and to raise awareness of the importance of including a charitable gift in the estate-planning process.

The main goal of estate planning is usually to have the greatest amount of one’s estate pass to the owner’s intended beneficiaries. This includes paying the least amount of taxes. A legacy gift can benefit your favourite charity while significantly helping your family save taxes.

We are living in a time when an unprecedented amount of wealth is being transferred from one generation to the next. According to the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, in the next two decades 3.5 million Canadians are expected to die, leaving an estimated $1.5 trillion to their families and community.

Recent data on estate planning

A recent Scotiabank study found that half (50 per cent) of Canadians have a Will and just over half of Canadians (54 per cent) said they have spoken to their family about their intentions for their Will. The study also found that only one third (33 per cent) of Canadians have a Power of Attorney for property, while 59 per cent do not have one and 8 per cent say they don’t know what it is.

The disturbing part is that 50 per cent of Canadians currently don’t have a Will. According to the LEAVE A LEGACY™ program, if this trend continues, about two million Canadians over the next two decade will end life without a Will to protect their assets and their families. Without a Will, people lose the ability to control distribution of their estate to their chosen beneficiaries!

A common myth is people think you have to be wealthy to make a legacy gift—this is simply not true. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift from their estate, regardless of its size.

People give for many different reasons; to ensure their memory lives on, to ensure that their favorite charity is able to continue its important work, to minimize the tax liability that comes with the transfer of one’s estate to surviving family members.

You have the ability to help the lives of people with dementia and create a lasting legacy. Gifts left to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario gives us the security of future funds. This May, get into action, do your Will, leave a legacy and create a brighter future for communities across Canada. We are here to help, request our free Super Hero Estate Planner and Guide. Not all Super Heroes wear capes. At the Alzheimer Society our Super Heroes leave a gift in their Wills to fight our #1 foe – dementia. Take a stand. Get the job done. Protect and help others and gain peace of mind. To learn more, and to request a free estate planner and guide, go to alzsuperhero.ca

 

Written by:

Colleen Bradley Chief Development Officer, Planned Giving Alzheimer Society of Ontario
Colleen Bradley
Chief Development Officer, Planned Giving Alzheimer Society of Ontario

 

It’s easier than you think to be a superhero! Make your Will today.

It’s easier than you think to be a superhero! Make your Will today.

Make Your Will Today!

 

At the Alzheimer Society, we believe completing your Will and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Property makes you a Super Hero. Why? You are putting the needs of others before yourself and protecting what’s important.

Death and taxes – two certainties?

While working at Royal Trust as a Will and estate planner, many clients would sit in a chair across from me and blurt out … there are two certainties in life:  death and taxes.  For years, even centuries, such statements were met with resignation.

However, most Canadians may be surprised to learn there is a way to avoid taxes. It all depends on the wording of your Will.  Did you know that you can help your favourite charity and help your estate save taxes?  How?

The Rules

When you donate to your favourite charity, like the Alzheimer Society of Ontario in your Will, the donation is considered to be made immediately before your death.  Similar rules apply when you name charitable organizations as the beneficiary of your RRSP, RRIF or TFSA, or of a life insurance policy.  On your final tax return, your Executor can claim all charitable donations made in the year of your death.  These include donations in the Will and those directly transferred to charities from RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, or life insurance policies, and any carried forward donations from the previous five years that were not claimed, to a maximum of 100% of your net income.  Any excess can be claimed on the tax return for the previous year, again to a maximum of 100% of your net income for that year.

Depending upon your net income in the year of death and the previous year, and the total donation amount, taxes paid in the year before your death may be rebated and taxes owed in the year of death may be eliminated.

What?  Taxes eliminated and rebated?

So let’s see how that works!

The Government Rewards YOU!

TAX ELIMINATION AND A REBATE TOO!

Mr. Generous gives a charitable Will bequest in his Will  totaling =                        $50,000
Tax payable—Final year:

Mr. Generous’ net income in year of his death =

 

$40,000

Minus: Tax credit for donation (100% x $40,000 net income) =

$10,000 to be used against previous years taxes

$40,000
Tax payable =             $  0,000.00
Previous year:

Mr. Generous’ net income in year before death =

 

$  36,000

Tax paid in previous year = (assuming 35% rate x $36,000) = 12,600
Donation carried back to previous year

($50,000 bequest – $40,000 tax credit used in final year) =

 

$  10,000

Taxable income = $36,000 – $10,000 donation = $  26,000
Tax payable (assuming 35% rate x $26,000) = $   9,100
Taxes rebated to estate ($12,600 – $9,100) =            $  3,500
Benefits:

The tax for the year of death has been eliminated. The tax for the previous year, which had already been paid, is reduced and rebated.

 

Imagine the social impact – if all Canadians did their Wills (only 50% of us do) and included a charitable bequest in their Wills! Giving to a charity like the Alzheimer Society in your Will would benefit our world significantly while ensuring that your estate eliminates unnecessary tax burdens – a win – win!

November is Make a Will Month.  And this month YOU could be our Super Hero!   By doing your Will and including a charitable gift you can save taxes, protect those you care about and help save the world from dementia!    Act now!  Click here to request your free Estate Planner and Guide or call Kristy Cutten at 416-847-8915.

 

Written by:

Colleen Bradley

Colleen Bradley
Chief Development Officer, Planned Giving
Alzheimer Society of Ontario

 

Make a Will Month – This is personal for me

Make a Will Month – This is personal for me

A few months ago, my cousin posted a wonderful video of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. The year was 1994. My grandfather gave a wonderful, heartfelt speech about what his wife meant to him. The family did skits making fun of the onion sandwich he ordered on their first date. There was even Karaoke. Good times.

Alex & Clara dancing at their wedding.
Pictured above: Alex & Clara Offenheim at their 50th wedding anniversary.

While the first 50 years of marriage were wonderful for my grandparents, the years that followed for them and for our family were extremely challenging. Shortly after this celebration, my grandfather Alexander was diagnosed with a form of dementia. With his loyal wife Clara by his side, he slowly deteriorated over a 10-year period. It was absolutely heartbreaking watching a man with such wit, and intellect slowly become someone else.

Then shortly after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother was diagnosed with a form of dementia. She is now well into her 90s, and has maintained all of her class and dignity. It has been so difficult for our family to go through this more than one time.

That said we are so lucky that my grandparents had the foresight to prepare. While they had the capacity to do so, they both had prepared their Will and powers of attorney. Everything was set up in accordance with their wishes. The Will appointed executors and beneficiaries for their property. A power of attorney appointed family members to act as their substitute decision maker for matters of property and for matters of personal care.

By taking the time to do so, our family avoided the expensive court procedures associated with guardianship applications. There was no need to purchase expensive insurance or bonds that would have been required had the documents not been in place. We have saved money on lawyers, and saved so much of the aggravation and heartache that goes along with unplanned estates.

This is why I was so thrilled when the Alzheimer Society asked me to guest blog for Make a Will month. I am so passionate about making sure that people have the proper documentation in place. I know firsthand how important this is.

Over the course of this month, I will be providing you with information about what goes into making a Will. What are the things you need to consider? What are some of the traps you can fall into? If there is one message I would like send out to everyone, is that doing these documents CANNOT WAIT. It is way too important.

You may be thinking that doing a Will is expensive and time-consuming. Fees can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your Will and where you live. For example, for a straight forward Will, my law firm charges $399 for a Will and two powers of attorney, with a full consultation with a lawyer. ($699 for a couple). And it does not take very long. Most of my clients take about 3-5 hours in total to complete everything that needs to be done.

Completing these documents is so necessary. Please don’t delay; if you need information right away, there are a number of ways to reach me.
Call me now at (416) 863-1300.
Or send me an e-mail now at steve@planyourwill.ca
Or follow this link to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation or a 2 hour Will instruction session.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you come back during the month of November to read important information for doing your estate plans. Your reward? Getting into action to protect your family, your assets, and gain peace of mind.

 

Written by:

Stephen Offenheim

Stephen Offenheim,
The Law Office of Stephen Offenheim
http://www.planyourwill.ca
(416) 863-1300
steve@planyourwill.ca