Leaving a lasting impression with Canadian Red Cross Legacy Giving

What will your legacy be? It’s a question you may not have asked yourself before. In fact, you may not have thought about the possibility of making a future difference through your Will before or if you have, you may not know where to begin.
Canadian Red Cross Legacy Giving Director, Gina Baillie, helps answer some of your most-asked questions about the process.

Two people wearing Red Cross vests speak to a person across a table. The workers are holding pens above paperwork on the table. 
Volunteers at a Red Cross reception centre assist a person affected by flooding, Laval, QC, May 2017. © Joe Alvoeiro / Canadian Red Cross

Why should someone consider giving to a charity in their Will?

Including a charitable gift in your Will, also known as legacy giving, is one of the most significant and lasting contributions you can make for the future. If you were to witness a crisis today – a house fire, hurricane or friend in need – what would you do? Your first instinct would probably be to try to help. This, too, could be part of your personal legacy.
A legacy gift is one way you can ensure your care for your community and others in need will live on, extending to also help future generations. While famines, tornadoes and earthquakes are unstoppable, a gift of support to the Red Cross in your Will allows you a special opportunity to help when they do happen.

How will a legacy gift to the Canadian Red Cross help?

The Canadian Red Cross is there whenever disaster strikes, caring for millions of people in Canada and around the world.
Chances are, you have many memories throughout your life of Red Cross humanitarian aid for disasters and emergencies. Which one comes to mind fastest? It might be the COVID-19 pandemic, or when severe flooding struck Eastern Ontario in 2017 and 2019. Perhaps for you it’s the Biafra Famine of the late 1960s or the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.
Through all these disasters, the Red Cross was a steady presence, there to help – thanks to the generosity of Canadians who were moved to support others in need. Internationally, Red Cross doctors and nurses provide crucial pediatric and maternal care, trauma care and psychosocial support. Red Cross personnel vaccinate, educate, and distribute hygiene kits to prevent outbreaks of disease.
Once again, these live-saving efforts are supported by the donations and gifts of concerned people like you.
In Canada, the Red Cross reached out to provide support to people and communities in times of need, strengthening their resilience after disasters such as floods, tornadoes and fires. Emergency shelter, food, clean-up kits and financial support are just some of the humanitarian aid provided within Canada.
Your decision to leave a gift to the Canadian Red Cross in your Will is one that can help this important work to continue.

What kind of future needs will Red Cross work support with my legacy gift?

Around the globe, disasters are increasing and, unfortunately, are predicted to get worse. This means the world will be a very different place when today’s children are raising their own families.
Future generations will likely live in a world with a much higher risk of more frequent and severe disasters such as floods, fires and droughts. Food shortages and diseases might mean entire communities are forced to flee to safety. And those people will need the life-saving humanitarian services offered by the Red Cross.
A line of children in an arid, sunny landscape. The child at the front of the line washes their hands in a red bowl filled with water.
Schoolchildren queue to wash their hands before receiving food provided by the Malawi Red Cross at a school in Chikwawa district, Malawi, 2017. © Victor Lacken / IFRC
This may, indeed, sound grim, however it is our new reality -- and it’s why the support of donors is necessary to ensure the Red Cross can increase its response efforts around the world. With a gift in your Will, you will be helping to put life-saving aid within reach at a time in the future when it will be critically needed.

What concerns do people often have about leaving a gift in their Will?

Some donors mistakenly think they need to be wealthy to make charitable gifts in their Will. Others may worry that they might not be able to fully provide for their families while also leaving a charitable gift.
No matter the size of your estate, your legacy contribution can help a charity. Even one per cent left to charity in your Will could have a significant impact on your chosen cause, while still leaving 99 per cent of your estate for your family.
It’s also much easier than many people might think to get started.

How do I leave a legacy gift in my Will?

There are many options available and the Canadian Red Cross Legacy Giving team are happy to talk to you about what choice might best meet your wishes. Also recommended is consulting a legal advisor, accountant or financial planner to determine what is most tax effective for you.
If you already have a Will, a simple amendment to your Will (or ‘codicil’) may be all that you need. You can choose to make changes to your Will at any time.
The two most common ways people leave a legacy gift in their Will are:
• indicating a specific dollar amount
• making a residual bequest (a share of the remainder of your estate after other needs are met)
If you don’t have a Will, it’s never too early to prepare one. Seeking the advice of a professional is the best first step. Will Power Canada is also a great resource, with tips on getting started, consulting your advisor and talking with your loved ones.

How do I get more information about leaving the Red Cross a legacy gift?

Deciding to prepare or update your Will to include a gift needs careful consideration. You can reach a Red Cross planned giving specialist at 1-800-418-1111 and at WeCare@redcross.ca.

Learn more about Red Cross Legacy Giving.

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