Leave a Legacy Donation FAQ

The first step is to talk to a lawyer who can help you draft and complete your Will or change your existing Will.

Your Will should be reviewed every few years. Changes may include marital status, birth of a child or grandchild. You want to update your Will to reflect changes and ensure your wishes are carried out. A codicil allows you to update your will and it is not difficult or expensive.

Your lawyer or other professional adviser will help you with the wording of your legacy gift. Below are examples.

A Specific Gift Amount

This is the wording to use when you are leaving a bequest of a specific cash amount. It is simple and straightforward:

Sample wording: “I give $________ to The Canadian Red Cross Society.

A Residuary Gift

The “residue” of your Estate is that which remains after the taxes, administrative and legal expenses are paid, and your heirs have received their specific gifts. The residue can be given in whole, or divided among beneficiaries.

Sample wording: “I bequeath the residue of my Estate (or xx% of the residue of my estate) to The Canadian Red Cross Society.”

A Contingent Gift

This is a provision which allows you to determine the recipient of your estate in the event that none of your named beneficiaries are alive at the time of your death.

Sample wording: “If none of the individuals I intend to benefit by this Will are alive or otherwise capable of benefitting, I leave the residue of my Estate to The Canadian Red Cross Society.”

If you wish to designate to a specific Red Cross branch or program, we recommend the following wording in order to keep flexibility should that program or location no longer be in existence at the time the bequest is realized:

“If through the passage of time, a designated Red Cross program or branch is no longer in place, I give permission to alter the terms of my will to adhere as closely as possible to my original wishes; or in the event that this is not possible, please direct my gift to the area of greatest need.”

You need to make a Will to carry out your wishes in order to provide for those you would like to ensure benefit from your estate. If not, the people you care about including charities will not receive what you desire.  If you have no Will, promises you  have made may not be carried out, your wishes can be disregarded.  Also, you may leave your loved ones with a legal and financial challenges to sort out.