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A Will used to be referred to as a “Testament”. It is not just a document divesting assets but a moral biography of the values of the individual. When one adds up all the accumulated assets and possessions of a lifetime, the impact on the lives of loved ones and their community can be powerful. Making a Will ensures an individual distributes their possessions as they see fit, rather than as the government determines.

They also have the power to ease the transition of their passing for those who survive them. When a donor includes the local community foundation in a will, they are making a powerful public statement of values and leaving a legacy of support to help strengthen causes they care for and community programs for generations to come.

Gift Examples

  • Gifts funded with cash or cash equivalents
  • Publicly Listed Securities (including segregated and mutual fund units)
  • Proceeds from Retirement Plan Accumulations (RRSPs and/or RRIFs)
  • Gifts of Real Estate
  • Gifts of other tangible property

Benefits to the Donor

  • Revocable during the donor’s lifetime by changing the will
  • Donation receipt for use in final income tax return against 100% of taxable income
  • Satisfaction of providing for a future gift while retaining full control of property

Most Appropriate for

  • All individuals (any age), but especially older persons with few or no heirs


Mr. Valois leaves a bequest of listed stock* to a public charity. On the date of death the stock has a fair market value of $100,000 and a cost base of $10,000. The donor’s net income in the year of death is $250,000 not including the taxable capital gain on shares.

With gift $Without gift $
Fair market value of stock100,000100,000
Capital gain90,00090,000
Total net income (before capital gain)250,000250,000
Taxable capital gain (50% of capital gain)45,000
Total taxable income250,000295,000
Tax credit on gift(45,000)0
Tax payable67,500132,750
Charitable gift$100,000
Cost of gift ($100,000 – tax savings of $65,250)34,750

* In order to take advantage of preferential tax treatment of public securities the donor’s will must either list specific shares or direct the executor to use appreciated securities to fund the intended charitable gifts. The second option is preferable so that there is flexibility for the executor and in the case of investment portfolio changes there is no need to change the will.

For illustration purposes a combined tax rate of 45% was used. Please note that combined tax rates vary across the provinces. 2015 tax table.

Note to reader: The purpose of this publication is to provide general information, not to render legal advice. In addition any changes in the tax structure may affect the examples listed in this information. Your client should consult their own lawyer or other professional advisor about the applicability of this information to their situation.