Last Will and Testament
A Will is a legal document that contains directions regarding the distribution of your estate among the persons or charities that you may want to benefit. It names a representative(s) chosen by you (the “Executor”) who will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your Will.
Many people postpone thoughts of making a Will until faced with an overseas trip or a sudden illness. While the preparation of a Will under these circumstances is beneficial, you should have a Will at all times, review it regularly and update it where necessary. For example, changes could be necessary because of changes in Income Tax legislation, changes in the assets bequeathed or gifted under the Will, if you wish to change or add a beneficiary, or in the event that your Executor is no longer able to carry out the task of administering your Will.
If you die without a Will and you are a resident of British Columbia, BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) dictates how your estate will be divided. It should be noted that institutions such as the Church, your diocese or parish would not be eligible to receive a gift if you die without a Will. The Court would appoint an administrator to carry out the Executor’s duties, but this appointed administrator may not be a person you would have chosen. By making a Will, you select your Executor(s) who will follow your wishes and instructions as to whom you bequeath your estate, including any Catholic institutions that are important to you.
The preparation of your Will is very important and, while a “Will Kit” could be used to draw up the document, it is better to have your Will drawn up by a lawyer practicing in this area of the law.
Once your Will is prepared, it is a good idea to review your wishes with your Executor.
How can a donation in my Will help my Church?
At the Parish Level:
- Allows the parish to continue to act as a focal point of the community
- Provides important ministries to future generations
- Assists with hiring staff to carry out pastoral activities (e.g., youth ministry and sacramental preparation)
- Helps with the cost of repairs and upkeep of aging buildings
- Can help fund expansion or construction of needed facilities
At the Diocesan Level:
- Recruitment and formation of candidates for the priesthood (seminarians)
- Supports Island Catholic Schools
- Supports the ongoing formation of pastors
- Formation and support of ministries and pastoral offices including Permanent Deacons, Adult Lay Formation, Youth & Family Ministry, and Pastoral Care in hospitals and long-term care facilities
- Support of retired and infirm priests
Why a donation in my Will?
Benefits to you:
- Donation receipt which can be used in year of death and previous taxation year
- You benefit from your assets during your lifetime
- You retain control of your assets
Benefits to the Church:
- Income from your bequest will continue in place of your regular donations
- Ensures continued support of the Church for its ministries
- Provides assets / funds at a later date
Prior to making a donation or gift, we recommend that donors seek independent professional advice concerning the possible financial, taxation and legal consequences.