Deciding to leave a bequest/legacy can be a great way to support a cause you care about.

Unfortunately, if it is not handled correctly it can cause problems for the charity and your estate. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider getting legal advice when you decide to make a bequest to charity:

  1. Clarity: the lawyer will ensure the will is clearly written, which will benefit the executors of the estate, reducing confusion and conflict
  2. Validity: the lawyer will ensure the will does not conflict with any provincial requirements
  3. Capacity: the lawyer can act as a witness for the capacity of the deceased at the time of making the will
  4. Correct name of charity: Charitable status – the lawyer will do a corporate search of the proper legal name of the charity to ensure the correct name is used
  5. Charitable status: the lawyer will ensure the charity is currently registered with the Canada Revenue Agency in order to obtain an official donation receipt for income tax purposes
  6. Acceptability of bequest or restrictions: the lawyer will make inquiries to ensure the bequest is within the objects of the charity and confirm it will be accepted
  7. Avoiding the disappearing will: the lawyer will retain a copy of the will reducing the likelihood that it cannot be found or disappears when it is needed
  8. Other planned giving ideas: the lawyer will be able to help in deciding if the legacy is the best option for each individual
  9. Estate planning: lawyers are familiar in dealing with other aspects of estates including wills, power of attorneys, trusts, and other matters