Promoting the Circle of Life Through Planned Giving

The circle of life is nature’s infinite way of withdrawing and giving back life to the earth. When a living thing passes it supports the birth of another. For example, when an animal dies in nature, its’ remains play an important role contributing to biodiversity and the ecosystem. Nutrients from the remains promote the growth of surrounding vegetation. This vegetation then serves as food for herbivores, while the herbivores serve as food for carnivores, and so forth.

The example above demonstrates how people today can leave behind an endowment to benefit generations to come. This circle of life concept may be inherently true of plants and wildlife, but when it comes to the human species a more concentrated effort is required. This is where the Leave a Legacy notion comes in. While an entire month each year is devoted to the Leave a Legacy concept, we encourage everyone to consider the cause and take action whenever they find this article. 

To leave a legacy, individuals are called upon to bequeath a part of their estate to a charity of their choice. This altruistic act is also known as planned giving. It’s typically represented by a lump sum or a percentage of one’s estate. While you may not be very familiar with the concept, it is a powerful fundraising tool for charities across Canada. Without it, thousands of Canadian children and other groups in-need would go without the means they need to thrive. Please read further to learn more.

Why Your Help Is Needed to Maintain the Circle of Life in Canada and What Else You Need to Know

An Alarming Number of Canadians Do Not Partake in Planned Giving

A 2019 survey from a Canadian estate planning platform finds that only 12 percent of our population plans to leave part of their estate to charity. Meanwhile, 57 percent of Canadians outright state that they do not plan to leave a legacy gift, while 31 percent remain undecided. On a country-to-country comparison we are behind the USA and UK when it comes to the percentage of retired people making a charity legacy. More concerning, is that the 12% in 2019 is down from 18% in 2015. We wish could say that this is because the number of those in need has decreased, but as of 2020 this is most certainly not the case. In fact, the need for planned giving is now more important than ever before. Without the collective support of people and households across the country, both current and future generations will be in dire straights.

It’s Easier to Leave a Legacy Than You May Think

Yes, Canada may lag slightly behind the US and UK when it comes to planned giving, but we do lead nearly all other developed nations in this category. There is no question that Canada is charitable by nature, so why are planned giving numbers so low? Because it’s something a lot of Canadians simply don’t know about. And for those who do know about planned giving, there is a misconception that it is a cumbersome and confusing process that requires costly work of estate planners. This is simply not the case. 

You may simply update your will with an addendum to stipulate a cash legacy, specific assets (publicly traded shares, land, etc.), or defined portion of your overall estate at the time of passing, outlining exactly which charity/charities you want it to go to. Another way to leave a legacy, is through a Charitable Remainder Trust. This method allows you to receive income from the trust throughout your lifetime. Upon passing, the remainder will move directly to named charities. Our own Foundation can walk you through the process. Contact the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation and let us know that you’re interested in planned giving to support our worthy causes.

How to Celebrate Canada's Parks Day

Eases the Tax Burden on Inheritors

The biggest reason individuals are on the fence about planned giving is that they believe that the donation takes an equal amount away from those they are bequeathing an inheritance to. It’s a fair concern, but this is not quite the case. Your charitable donation will actually offset taxes on your estate which eases the burden your children and other inheritors face.

You Can Begin to Leave a Legacy Today

While the number of current and near-retirees participating in planned giving is low, there is hope for the future. Data finds that millennials are more than twice as likely than baby boomers to leave a legacy gift. However, this does little to support those in-need in the current annum and up and coming years. For this reason, it’s a great idea to begin your legacy of giving today! A cash donation is the most effective way to make an impact on the communities you care about and our Foundation has made the process easier than you may have anticipated. Learn more about how you can donate today to leave a legacy that will support generations to come.