ShareLife director Arthur Peters. Photo courtesy ShareLife

Making a plan that gives back in gratitude

By  Arthur Peters, Catholic Register Special
  • October 30, 2020

I have always made it a priority to support not only the charity that I have worked with, but also many other charities that serve our greater communities. 

My parents made it a priority to support many worthwhile causes, both with their time and talent, as well as their treasure. One of the ways that they made a lasting impact was through the Knights Table restaurant in Brampton, which was founded by our Knights of Columbus Council (9235) more than 27 years ago and provides food, hot meals and other services for the poor.

My father had taken my sister to a local ice cream establishment for a summer treat when he saw someone rummaging through the garbage looking for food. He discussed this with our council, and from here the Knights Table was born — today a prominent social service in the City of Brampton.

While my parents supported many organizations in life, they did not make provisions in their will to leave a gift to their church, or to a charity. Like most people, it probably never crossed their mind to do so, and as a result their estate went to their children and the government in the form of taxes.

I got married last year, and one of the things my wife and I decided to do was create our Wills. As we would be travelling frequently in the coming years, we wanted to ensure that we had an estate plan in place should anything happen to one or both of us.

When I sat down to do my estate plan, I had two goals in mind — to provide for my wife and family, and to support some of the charitable organizations that I had been supporting in life. The charitable receipts that will be generated from these contributions will help to offset some or all of the taxes payable at the time of my death, and will also provide for organizations that I have been supporting during my lifetime.

When thinking of which charities to name in my Will, three came to the forefront: The Knights Table, ShareLife and my parish. To me, seeing the great work done by our ShareLife-funded agencies in helping so many people inspires me in my role at the archdiocese, and is an area that I want to support through my estate.

Secular charities are often the first ones thought of when one contemplates their estate plan, and one’s parish is often not considered when naming a charity in a Will. It is the place where many of us have experienced significant milestones in our lives — baptism, first communion, marriage — but is not a place that we think about to be named as a beneficiary in our Will.

I have been a parishioner at my parish since its inception in 1976, and was one of its first altar boys. It is the place where I was confirmed, married and have served as an usher and collection counter.

My parish community is an integral part of my life story, and by naming the parish in my Will I am giving back in gratitude for all that I have received while on Earth.

As a result of naming ShareLife and my parish in my Will, and informing them of this, I was enrolled in the Legacy Society of the Archdiocese of Toronto. This allows the archdiocese to thank me in life for my commitment of support after my death.

One point should be noted when naming a charity in your Will. If you own securities, please indicate that the shares should be donated to the charities named, and not sold, at the time of death. In 2006, the federal government eliminated the capital gains on donations of listed securities to registered charities.

Even today, many people are not aware of this and we have had quite a few cases where securities were sold rather than donated in kind to the named charities. This not only reduces the amount that could be received by the charity, but also could result in capital gains taxes being paid and eliminates the potential for the estate to receive a charitable receipt to offset other taxes.

Leaving a note with your Will stipulating that any securities must be donated to named charities will benefit not only the estate, but also the charitable beneficiaries you are choosing to support.

If our office can assist you as you contemplate your estate plan, please feel free to contact us at (416) 934-3400, or at development@archtoronto.org.

(Peters is the Director of ShareLife and Development for the Archdiocese of Toronto.)

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