The Importance of Legacy Giving and How to Do It

Allison Grinberg-Funes
Allison Grinberg-Funes
December 30th 2021 - 4 minute read
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Legacy giving is a way to help ensure that a person’s memory is honored and their legacy is acknowledged.

Allison Grinberg-Funes

When you’re working to plan your death arrangements, the process can quickly become overwhelming. You’ll likely have discussions about belongings and assets and how you’d like things distributed and handled after death.

But what about your memory? Legacy giving is a way to help ensure that a person’s memory is honoured and their legacy is acknowledged.

What is a legacy gift?

A legacy gift is a charitable donation to a non-profit organization that is decided by the deceased with their estate before the time of their death. A legacy gift can be given in several ways, which we’ll discuss later on, but details are typically specified in the last will and testament of the deceased.

Why do people choose to leave them?

While people are planning what will happen to their assets after they die, it’s understandable that they’d want to make sure their family members and loved ones are cared for financially. But it’s also common for people to care deeply for specific causes, movements, and organizations.

Legacy giving not only helps people to gain a sense of autonomy post-life, but also helps extend the purpose of their life. Leaving a legacy gift to a charitable organization helps to continue the expression of the views they held strongly in life.

Beyond a sense of autonomy and purpose, legacy giving can help your estate with tax breaks during probate. You can donate publicly traded assets and your beneficiaries won’t have to claim capital gains if these are donated to charity. Keep in mind that the laws for probate differ for each province. If you’re curious to know how they may impact you depending on your provincial laws, we suggest seeking counsel from a legal professional.

How do you leave a legacy gift?

When it comes to arranging how you leave a legacy gift, there are options:

  • You can leave a fixed sum to a charitable organization.
  • You can leave an item of considerable value to a charity.
  • You can transfer ownership of your assets to an organization so they can manage them.
  • You can leave a portion of your life insurance’s death benefit to a charity; you can also choose to take out a life insurance policy in the name of a charitable organization.

How you decide to leave a legacy gift is ultimately a personal decision. What makes sense for one person’s legacy gifting may make less sense for someone else, so keep in mind that it’s wise to explore all your options together with your lawyer and loved ones.

What are organizations to consider for legacy gifting?

Maybe you’re just now beginning to think about legacy gifting. If you decide that you’d like to leave a gift, where are some places to explore leaving your legacy? Below are several organizations you may want to consider:


Rise is an organization that helps people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. One in five Canadians will be impacted by a mental health or addiction challenge and Rise helps people overcome those challenges through entrepreneurship.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is an organization dedicated to helping people and communities during times of need. This organization is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Water First

Water First is an NGO that seeks to help indigenous communities throughout Canada. Through education, training, and connection, Water First helps to create opportunities for indigenous citizens all while growing their love for water science.

Peacebuilders Canada

Peacebuilders Canada is a nonprofit organization based in Toronto that seeks to help youth in conflict to stay out of the criminal justice system. They work with teachers, students, community members, and legal professionals to create programs that help to support and empower youth.

Legacy Gifting Helps Your Wishes Live On

It’s not easy to imagine what life for our loved ones may be like once you pass on. Taking the time to explore leaving a legacy gift can help to start the grieving and healing process now.

Remember that not only will arranging to leave a legacy gift help you realize that your passions will live on after your death ─ the gift will also serve as a reminder to your loved ones about a cause or organization that mattered deeply to you.