All About Estates

Category: Philanthropy/Charitable Giving

Total 147 Posts

Family Foundations & the Promise of Harmony

One of the most common philanthropic clichés is that family foundations produce family harmony.  I was recently at a forum of advisors to ultra high net worth clients.  In a moment of candour, someone asked “has anyone used family foundations to promote family harmony, and has it ever worked?”  The…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Charitable Bequests in Wills

This blog was written by Courtney Lanthier, Law Clerk at Fasken LLP.   We often hear in the news of beloved celebrities passing away after years of lucrative careers. It’s also common to speculate as to how their estate will be distributed. Many celebrities have either left, or plan to…

Continue Reading

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. …

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

The Cy-Près Doctrine: When Good Intentions Count For Something

The cy-près doctrine It is common practice to leave a gift to a charity in your will. However, the charity that the testator wished to support may not have been named properly in the will (leading to confusion about who was supposed to benefit from the funds), or may have…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Private foundations & private company shares

Philanthropic individuals that own their wealth in a private company may want to set-up a charitable legacy by donating some of their shares or debt to a private foundation. Although this sounds like a great idea, caution needs to be exercised. Donations of private company shares or debt to a…

Continue Reading

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,…

Continue Reading