All About Estates

Malcolm Burrows

Total 98 Posts Website
Malcolm is a philanthropic advisor with 30 years of experience. He is head, philanthropic advisory services at Scotia Wealth Management and founder of Aqueduct Foundation. Views are his own. malcolm.burrows@scotiawealth.com

Outdated Donation Clause

Legal precedents are invaluable – except, that is, when they are wrong or out of date.  Recently a Scotiatrust colleague contacted me about a clause in a client’s will that was intended to create an endowment fund at a registered charity.  The clause imposed a 10-year capital hold on the…

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The Charity Capacity Gap

Canada’s 85,896 registered charities have wide-ranging capacity, but these variations are often underappreciated.  Estate donors – and their professional advisors – often focus on cause and tax status, but ignore organizational health indicators like history, funding, staffing, and governance.  What should estate donors look for in a charity? Although all…

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Foundation v. Charitable Organization

The WE Charity scandal has been fascinating to charity watchers.  On July 22, it was revealed that the Canadian Government contracted with the WE Charity Foundation for the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) program, not the WE Charity as previously reported. Parallel public foundations often co-exist with operating charities (charitable…

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Unrestricted Giving – In Life and Estates

An “ah ha” of COVID-19 is the importance of unrestricted giving to charity.  Donors, foundations and charities are realizing that excess conditions may hinders responses to urgent social needs.  Will this insight last beyond the pandemic? And does it apply to estate donations? Trust-Based Philanthropy First a bit of context. …

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Should Foundations Give More?

Charitable foundations are grappling with their response to COVID-19.  A Canadian initiative, Give5.ca, is advocating for increased granting through a time limited pledge in 2020.  Simply, the ask is for foundations to pledge to grant at least of five percent of their assets to registered charities in 2020.  That’s it….

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The Plague and Charitable Bequests

In 1348 the plague hit Florence – and Europe – hard. Half the population died in this densely populated city of 80,000. One result of this mass die-off was 350,000 florins of bequests to one organization, Orsanmichele, a grain market with a miracle producing Madonna shrine.  How much is 350,000…

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Are wills an essential service?

Every COVID-19 day we seem to learn a new phrase.  Not so long ago we discovered “social distancing”, and this week it is “essential services”.  The list of services and businesses that we can’t do without varies by province, but most include financial and professional services, including lawyers.  Wills are…

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Tax Shelters and Charitable Intent

In early February, the Tax Court of Canada put another nail in the coffin of “one of the biggest tax scams in Canadian history.” The case involved the Global Learning Gift Initiative, a charitable tax shelter that attracted 40,000 investors who – through a complex structure with no clear public…

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Charitable Remainder Trusts in Canada

The Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) is a gift planning structure that rarely works in Canada.  An import from the U.S. – where it is an integral part of the gift and estate tax regime – the CRT in Canada has fewer tax and planning benefits.  It’s a foreign plant that…

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Estate Donations to Government

The title of this blog may provoke laughter, or perhaps, just head-shaking disbelief.  But estate donations to various levels of government do happen. The trick is to ensure that the donor’s intentions are carried out. The Crown – i.e. federal and provincial governments – and Canadian municipalities are qualified donees…

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