All About Estates

Malcolm Burrows

Total 138 Posts Website
Malcolm is a philanthropic advisor with over 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

AMT and Donations

Changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) rates and rules are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024.  For the first time AMT will apply to charitable donations from high-income individuals, which is worrying for charities and donors. Simply, targeting donations is poor tax policy that will produce unintended…

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Gifts of Real Estate, with restrictions

Early in my charitable planning career my employer was offered a donation of islands on Georgian Bay.  Surrounding the 100-year-old family cottage were sheds, cabins and boat houses.  The donors had a vision: it would be a children’s camp. It was a stunning property.  Valuable, despite the sagging, mouse-infested buildings. …

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Gifts from RRIFs

I get regular inquiries about donating funds from registered retirement income funds or RRIFs. The value of RRIFs has grown through careful saving and market gains, and these funds may represent surplus wealth. Some RRIF holders resent the requirement to take steadily increasing annual withdrawals from their RRIF. Add a…

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The Perpetual Debate over Endowments

  Charitable endowments are having a challenging moment.  Despite the historical success of this medieval European charitable fund structure, the accumulation of capital for public benefit has always faced controversy.  Endowments, which focus on long-term public benefit, have a built-in tension between capital and annual spending.  Does the capital exist…

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Charitable purposes and estate donations

Estate planning is an exercise in time travel.  It is impossible to predict the future, especially when the time gap between planning and death is often decades.  Fast forward 25 years, a charity may not exist when the estate is distributed. Charity law identified this problem and a solution to it over…

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Artist Inventory and Estate Donations

In estates, the tax rules governing professional artists and their art are both enabling and complex.  On the enabling side of the ledger, art is treated as inventory for tax purposes, which means works can have a NIL value.   Sales, however, are fully taxable as income, not capital gains.  On…

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Complaining about a charity

Charity regulators all have processes for members of the public to make complaints about the charities.  These processes reveal as much about the regulator and the underlying laws as they do about charity malfeasance.  Charities are generally good actors, but they do sometimes have lapses or get caught in internal,…

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The Overlooked Donor

In November 2022, The Winnipeg Foundation, announced a $500 million estate donation from a 66-year-old businesswoman named Miriam Bergen.  Ms Bergen is an exceptional example of a common but overlooked donor: the older person without kids. Ms Bergen’s estate is larger and more complicated than most.  She owned a business that was…

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Estate donations that don’t get made

John Quinn was a corporate lawyer and Wall Street titan.  A bachelor known for his many lovers, Quinn was also America’s first great modern art collector and tireless public champion.  He was a friend of literary and art legends like Picasso, WB Yeats, and Joseph Conrad. Quinn died in 1924 of cancer…

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An Estate Donation of a Company  

On Giving Tuesday last month, The Winnipeg Foundation announced a $500 million estate donation from a local donor, Miriam Bergen.  The donation is of two companies.  Appleton Holdings Ltd., which owns Edison Properties, which in turn holds 27 rental apartment and commercial buildings in Winnipeg. The donor’s wished that her…

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