What is legacy giving?

Making a legacy gift to Regent College is an action you take in the present to secure the Regent experience for the future. It’s a way to keep your Regent story going, and to help others write their own Regent stories. It’s a way to participate in God’s work in and through this community for generations to come.

It’s also a smart, practical way to invest in Regent’s long-term financial sustainability while caring for yourself and your loved ones. Keep reading to learn more!

Types of Gifts

There are a number of ways to make a legacy gift to Regent. Which method makes the most sense for you will depend on your circumstances, needs, and goals. Because each person’s situation is unique, we always recommend talking with a qualified professional about the options available to you. Here are some examples to get you thinking.

Making a Gift in Your Will

Making a gift to Regent in your will is one of the most common approaches to legacy giving. It’s also one of the easiest! For most people, it’s as simple as adding a couple sentences to their will. Learn more about making a gift in your will.

Amy and David wanted to make a $10,000 legacy gift to Regent. So, they got in touch with their attorney, who added the following sentence to their will: “I give the sum of $10,000 to Regent College (5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4) for its general purposes.” This will allow them to:

  1. Reduce the tax that will be owed on their estate.
  2. Maintain control of their financial resources throughout their lifetime, giving them the flexibility to change their plans if necessary.
  3. Determine the exact size of their gift to Regent.

Elaine decided to write a will after her brother had kids. Her first priority was to leave a nest egg for each niece and nephew, plus a few other gifts to family and friends. Once these gifts were made, she wanted the remaining value of her estate to be divided between Regent College and one other charity. She included the following language in her will: “I give 50% of the residue of my estate to Regent College (5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4) for its general purposes.” This will allow her to:

  1. Reduce the tax that will be owed on her estate.
  2. Ensure her loved ones will be taken care of first, regardless of the ultimate value of her estate.
  3. Make a gift to Regent that reflects its important place in her life.

Gifts from Life Insurance

Making a gift through a life insurance policy is another very simple approach to legacy giving. It’s easy to set up, and it can be a great way to turn a modest investment into a substantial gift down the road.

After decades of service with an international non-profit organization, Martin didn’t anticipate having much accumulated wealth to disperse at the end of his life. But he wanted to make a significant gift to Regent, the place that prepared him for his life’s work. So, he purchased a life insurance policy and made Regent College the sole owner and beneficiary. This will allow him to:

  1. Reduce his current income tax by receiving charitable gift receipts for the premiums he pays on the life insurance policy.
  2. Make modest payments over time that contribute to a much larger gift (the full value of the insurance policy) in the future.
  3. Have the satisfaction of making a legacy gift disproportionate to the size of his existing estate.

Gifts from a Retirement Account

Some people find that gifts made through an RRSP or RRIF can have important benefits for the heirs of their estate. These can also be among the easiest types of gifts to set up.

Michael wanted to make a legacy gift that would also help his kids by reducing the taxes and fees that will be applied to his estate. He knew that RRSPs and RRIFs are taxed quite heavily, so he decided to make Regent College the beneficiary of his RRSP. This will allow him to:

  1. Reduce the tax owed on his estate with a gift receipt for the final value of his RRSP.
  2. Avoid probate and executor fees because the RRSP funds will go directly to Regent without passing through his estate.
  3. Make a sizable legacy gift to Regent with very little effort (simply updating his RRSP documents).

Gifts that Pay Income

Some types of legacy gifts are designed to allow donors to accomplish multiple things at once, such as making a significant charitable gift and securing a source of income for themselves or loved ones. These gifts tend to be more complex, so be sure to discuss your options with a qualified financial advisor who can discuss the rationale, advantages, and tax implications of the different options open to you. The following are just two possible scenarios in which a donor could make a gift that pays income.

Vivian decided to sell her house and use the funds she received to both make a legacy gift and secure a stable income for the rest of her life. She entered into an agreement stating that the proceeds of the sale would be invested and used to provide her with regular, guaranteed income payments. The remaining balance would be donated to Regent at the end of her life. This will allow her to:

  1. Ensure she receives a steady stream of income for as long as she needs it.
  2. Receive a charitable gift receipt for the immediate gift, reducing her current income tax.
  3. Reduce the value of her estate, reducing her anticipated estate taxes.

Interested? Ask your financial advisor about charitable gift annuities.

Ben and Marie wanted to help pay for their grandchildren’s education, but they also wanted to leave a legacy gift to Regent. They placed a number of securities in a trust that would make variable payments to their children throughout their grandchildren’s university years, and then give the remaining principal as a donation to Regent College after a set amount of time. This will allow them to:

  1. Receive a variety of tax benefits in the present and the future.
  2. Ensure that they are able to help their family for a particular length of time.
  3. Make a significant gift to Regent in the future.

Interested? Ask your financial advisor about charitable remainder trusts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Legacy giving doesn't have to be confusing or overwhelming, but we can't deny that it has its complexities! The following FAQs address many of the most common questions and concerns about legacy giving. If your question isn't covered here or you'd like to have a conversation about any of these topics, feel free to contact us any time!

Anyone can make a legacy gift! While words like “estate” may conjure images of wealth or luxury, the truth is that nearly everyone has material and financial assets that they’ll eventually leave behind. Legacy giving is less about divvying up a fortune than about deciding how you’d like those resources to be used after you no longer need them.

Regent has been greatly blessed by legacy gifts from individuals with all kinds of backgrounds. Most of them weren’t particularly wealthy, but they’ve made an incredible and lasting difference through their generosity with what they had.

This is a very personal choice, and there’s no simple rule of thumb to follow. We can’t give you specific guidance, but here are a few things to consider as you think it through.

  1. Writing a will doesn’t mean you think you’re running out of time, it just means you’re planning ahead—probably way ahead. Most wills sit around doing nothing for decades, and that’s great!
  2. There’s no real downside to getting started early. Once you’ve written a will, you’re free to change it whenever you like. In fact, legal and financial pros recommend reviewing your estate plans regularly and making updates as your circumstances change over time.
  3. Having this kind of plan in place can do a lot for your peace of mind. It’s an opportunity to speak up for yourself and make practical choices that reflect your loves, values, and priorities.
  4. Many people find the process of writing a will quite educational. You’re likely to emerge with a better understanding of your current finances and greater knowledge about future possibilities.

Finally, in our experience, thinking about your long-term plans and legacy is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the places, people, and experiences God has used in your life. It’s also a chance to participate in God’s work among future generations. And that’s worth doing at any age.

No, not necessarily. Some types of legacy gifts are specifically designed to avoid this. And if you're making a gift through your will, you can specify which beneficiaries should receive a set amount of your estate, and which should receive a gift from what’s left over.

The case studies of different types of gifts include several examples of how legacy gifts can be set up with the interests of a donor's heirs in mind. Take a look at the scenarios described above in the sections titled "Making a Gift in Your Will" (Elaine's situation), "Making a Gift from a Retirement Account" (Michael's situation), and "Gifts that Pay Income" (Ben and Marie's situation).

Yes! Many people find legacy giving advantageous for themselves and/or their heirs because of the various types of tax benefits that can accrue through legacy giving. Some types of gifts (such as a gift through your will or retirement account) may help reduce the tax owed on your estate, and some types of gifts (such as gifts through a life insurance policy or charitable gift annuity) provide donation receipts for contributions made during your lifetime. The giving scenarios listed above illustrate a few possible outcomes, but you should always consult with a professional if you have questions about the tax implications of legacy giving for yourself and your loved ones.

Note: Gifts to Regent College generally benefit Canadian taxpayers, while gifts to Regent College Foundation (RCF) are more likely to benefit American taxpayers. For more information about giving to RCF, see "Information for Americans" below.

Absolutely! Many types of legacy gifts (including gifts made through your will or through an insurance policy) remain completely in your control, as no money is actually given away during your lifetime. You can even set up a legacy gift that provides regular income throughout your life (see "Gifts that Pay Income" above).

Probably not as hard as you think! The exact steps required depend on a variety of factors, including your financial situation and what you want your legacy gift to accomplish, but the most common types of legacy gifts (such as a gift in your will, insurance policy, or retirement account) can be quite easy to set up.

That said, it may be worth taking some extra time to explore your options. There are lots of different ways to help Regent through legacy giving, and lots of ways you and your family can benefit in the process. That’s why we always recommend talking to a financial or legal professional about legacy giving and other long-term financial plans. An expert can help you make a gift that meets your unique needs and goals.

Including a gift to Regent in your will is usually as simple as adding a couple of sentences that explain your intent. To learn more and download some examples, visit our how-to page.

Not necessarily. For example, you can add Regent College to an insurance or pension policy simply by speaking to the policy administrator, and you may be able to have a notary, rather than a lawyer, update your existing will. If you don’t have a will already, you may or may not need a lawyer’s services to create a simple document. In general, though, it's a good idea to consult with a professional when making estate plans. Regent can’t provide specific legal or financial advice, so we always recommend talking to the experts!

In most cases, it’s totally up to you. You can make a legacy gift of any size—and a gift of any size will make a real difference!

Certain types of legacy gifts—such as endowed gifts or gifts that must be used in specific ways—may require a minimum contribution because of the administrative expenses involved in ensuring the donor’s wishes are carried out. If you’re thinking about a gift where this might be an issue, we’d be more than happy to discuss that with you.

Another name for a legacy gift is “planned gift”—and sometimes plans change! For gifts made through your will and most other types of legacy gifts, you’re free to change your mind whenever you want. (In fact, you’re generally encouraged to review and update your will regularly to account for any changes taking place in your life.) You just need to update the relevant documents to implement your new wishes.

If you’re planning to make a legacy gift to Regent, first, thank you! Second, we’d really appreciate it if you’d be willing to tell us about your plans. We don’t need specifics, and we completely understand that your intentions aren’t set in stone, but having a general sense of the number and type of legacy gifts that are out there really helps Regent plan for its long-term financial future. Plus, if we know you’re planning a legacy gift, we’ll be able to share our appreciation and keep you up to date about how God is working in and through the Regent community. Please be assured, though, that we’ll respect your wishes regarding confidentiality and anonymity.

You can let us know about your legacy giving plans using a Declaration of Intent form.

Regent College's CRA charitable registration number is 10788 1039 RR0001.

Information for Americans

Yes! Most aspects of legacy giving are quite similar in the United States and Canada, but American taxpayers may benefit from supporting the Regent community through a legacy gift to Regent College Foundation (RCF), a US-based 501(c)(3) charity (EIN 91-1220704). RCF regularly partners with Regent College to fund the College’s overall mission, as well as specific projects supported by donors, so your gift to RCF will directly benefit the Regent community. But because RCF is an independent charitable organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service, a legacy gift to RCF is eligible for the same tax benefits as a gift to any other US charity.

To learn more, download Sample Language for Your Will – Regent College Foundation (PDF, 147 KB).

Generally speaking, Canadian taxpayers benefit from giving to Regent College, and American taxpayers benefit from giving to Regent College Foundation (RCF). Legacy gifts to Regent College and RCF provide the same benefit to Regent's work, mission, and community, so we encourage donors to direct their gifts to whichever recipient makes the most sense for them. If you’re not sure whether to direct your legacy gift to Regent College or RCF, we recommend discussing the possibilities with a financial professional who’s familiar with both American and Canadian tax law in order to determine which arrangements will work best for you.

Find Out More

Regent's Advancement team would love to answer any questions or just have a conversation about legacy giving with you. Feel free to get in touch any time, or sign up to get more information delivered straight to your inbox.