Life insurance is the one asset almost everyone has.
For the young parent with limited dollars, it is a way to protect the family against economic loss in the event of a parent’s premature death. For the business owner, it may provide dollars to buy out a deceased partner’s interest or compensate for the loss of a key manager. For older individuals, it provides the liquidity needed to settle an estate and pay taxes.
Life insurance has another important use: it is a popular and practical way to make a significant gift to charity. A gift to a community foundation will be wisely administered through their investment program which will result in a stable source of income to the foundation for years to come.
- Any whole life policy
- Many term policies
- Many group insurance policies
Benefits to the Donor
- Donation receipt for cash surrender value and any future premiums* paid on policies where the ownership is transferred to the charity.Small current outlay leveraged into larger future gift
- If policy ownership rights retained by donor during lifetime and charity named as beneficiary:
- donation receipt to estate for full value of death proceeds;
- satisfaction of providing a future gift while retaining full control of policy.
Most Appropriate for
- Persons (generally ages 30-60) who:
- have an older policy no longer needed, or
- want to make a large gift but have limited resources
- Persons (any age) whose personal needs and family situation may be subject to change
- Professionals with good cash flow, but limited capital assets.
* Advisors may want to suggest that donors use gifts of appreciated stocks to the charity to fund the premium payments as a way to take advantage of the preferential tax treatment – see Gifts of Appreciated Securities.
Charity is designated owner and beneficiary
Mr. Palayew gives a charity a paid-up policy with a face value of $100,000 and a policy value of $48,000. His adjusted cost base in the policy is $20,000.
|Tax credit (assuming 45%)||21,600|
|Taxable income ($48,000 – $20,000)||28,000|
|Tax on income||12,600|
|Tax savings ($21,600 – $12,600)||9,000|
Charity is designated as beneficiary
Ms. Aziz would like to make a significant gift to her favourite charity and has a $100,000 life insurance policy that no longer has a specific purpose and is evaluating whether to continue the policy and pay the annual premiums and gift the proceeds to the charity. Her net income in the year of her death is expected to be $200,000.
|No insurance $||Insurance $|
|Tax (assuming 45%)||– 90,000||– 90,000|
|Donation tax credit||–||45,000|
|After-tax position of estate||110,000||155,000|
|Gift to charity||–||100,000|
|Total value to estate and to charity||110,000||255,000|
The donor must also consider the annual cost of the policy premiums.
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.