Will Planning

The Will to Shape Your Legacy

Life is full of changes, from new jobs to family milestones. Marriage, career shifts, the birth of a child, and even the loss of a loved one – these transitions shape our life’s journey. Have you ever moved provinces, sold a business, or received a significant inheritance? Such shifts prompt us to think about the future.

That’s where Will planning comes in.

The will to plan

Imagine this: years from now, part of how you are remembered depends on your Will. A Will is a roadmap that determines how your assets will be distributed after you’re gone. Taking action today or updating your existing plan matters more than wealth or complexity – often, it’s about overcoming procrastination.

No will, no control

As a resident of British Columbia, without a will, the government takes control of your estate. This means your property will be divided according to the province’s laws, potentially leading to increased administrative costs. Notably, the government decides the fate of your assets, pets, and even your children’s guardianship.

Consider this: if you pass away, the law dictates that your spouse’s share of your belongings is “the first $150,000 of the estate and half of what’s left over.” If you and your partner are both parents, the share changes. Your intentions will only be followed if you act now, saving your inheritor’s time, money, and stress.

Your legacy, your values

Your will reflects your life’s values and intentions. It’s essential to discuss your wishes with your loved ones and gain clarity. You can also continue supporting the causes you care about, reinforcing your vision and shared values.

A qualified professional can guide you through life’s changes, ensuring your goals are met. They help you adapt your plan to inevitable shifts and changing tax laws. Let’s explore some key life changes and how they impact your will plan.

Changes in family dynamics

When your children become adults, your plan must evolve. Consider setting up a trust for their health, education, or support. This reflects your desire to provide for them or contribute to your family’s values and community.

If your spouse passes away, revisit your beneficiaries. Update your will, trust, and other documents to align with your new circumstances and wishes.

Choosing executors and trustees

Ensure your chosen executor, trustee, or power of attorney is still willing and able. Name replacements if needed, and consider appointing professionals to ease the burden on family or friends.

Building your legacy

A will isn’t just about distributing assets; it’s a way to effect change. Charitable giving can help you leave a lasting impact. By donating to causes you care about, like the KGH Foundation, you support meaningful change and benefit from tax credits.

Norm Fix is a Kelowna resident, a former business owner, a devoted community member, and a KGH Foundation donor. Norm already had a Will when his wife passed away. Around the same time, he attended an information session offered through the KGH Foundation about how he could maximize his philanthropic potential while eliminating taxes on the gifts that he was leaving to his loved ones.

“My family and I have been treated at Kelowna General Hospital and the Central Okanagan Hospice House,” says Norm. “We always received excellent care. And I’d much rather give to the hospital than the government.”

While Canada doesn’t have an estate tax, capital gains taxes can affect your estate. Charitable giving can help you make the most of tax credits, benefiting your community instead of the government.

Norm elected to leave a percentage of his RRIF (Registered Retirement Investment Fund), to the KGH Foundation and a percentage to members of his family. “It gives me such peace of mind to know that I can support a cause that I care about AND my family, with the added benefit of a charitable tax credit for my estate.”

This type of strategic giving can lower taxes and amplify your contribution. Even outside your will, you can make charitable donations. Ask your account manager for a change of beneficiary form for registered accounts.

Norm says, “I spoke with my financial advisor and it was such a simple process. I’m encouraging my friends to do something like this. It’s a win-win for loved ones and the causes people care about.”

Benefits of charitable gifts

Charitable giving through your registered accounts offers tax credits for your final return. It also bypasses probate, reducing potential fees, and ensures your chosen charity receives your gift directly.

Making your mark

Life changes can be unsettling, but they also empower you to shape your legacy. Legacy planning lets you leave the world a better place on your own terms. Don’t wait – start creating your legacy today!

For more information about making a bequest in your will to the KGH Foundation, call Colleen Cowman, our Director of Planned Giving, at 250-862-4300, ext. 27011.

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the B.C. Interior. Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

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