A gift to ShareLife can help children in need. Photo courtesy of ShareLife

Every bequest is appreciated

By 
  • November 1, 2012

TORONTO - Quentin Schesnuik was visiting St. Cecilia’s Church for an estate planning presentation when he spotted a little girl giving a leaf to the pastor. Fr. Joseph Tap Van Tran thanked her for the leaf, blessed her and kept the gift.

“At the moment she gave it to him, she meant it with all sincerity,” said Schesnuik, manager of planned giving and personal gifts for ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto.

Similarly, whenever somebody puts the Church in their will, they should mirror this sincerity, he said.

“At the end of the day, it should be about how you make that gift… A lot of times people use their will to make the gift they always wanted to in life but just never thought they could.”

Any gift left to ShareLife in a will is turned into cash which lands in the ShareLife Legacy for Life Endowment Fund, said Schesnuik.

“An endowment is an investment that’s set aside for the long-term support of ShareLife,” he said. “Within the endowment, the principle is protected… And the principle is used to generate income to fund ShareLife programs.”
As the endowment grows, it strengthens the ShareLife allocations as a whole, he adds.

“The income that the endowment generates goes into general funding, so in a very real sense, the money is used to help fund all ShareLife agencies and grant recipients.”

The endowment fund currently sits at $2.8 million. Last year, it generated about $80,000 in income, said Schesnuik.

“Sometimes you could have a will where someone says, ‘I have a Harley Davidson and I want it to go to ShareLife.’ In that case, the estate trustee would contact us and we’d work with them, take possession of the Harley Davidson, sell it and use the proceeds to put in the endowment.”

When a person decides they’d like to donate to ShareLife, their lawyer contacts ShareLife and asks for their legal title, said Schesnuik.

“Knowing the proper legal title is really important because the law is all about language and the interpretation of language,” he said. By knowing this, the lawyer knows exactly where to direct the funds. ShareLife’s legal title is The ShareLife Trust.

One hundred per cent of the proceeds bequeathed to ShareLife support ShareLife, adds Schesnuik.

But your estate doesn’t just mean your house, it means your total assets.

“It’s your assets minus your liabilities,” said Schesnuik. “If somebody has more liabilities than assets, there won’t be anything left to distribute.”

He emphasizes that it’s not necessarily about the amount left behind.

“God loves a cheerful giver, and so, it’s in that spirit I think that person should make a cheerful gift.”

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