Samples of commonly-used will wording for charitable bequest donations are detailed below. Be sure to discuss your wishes with those close to you, the person preparing your will (such as a lawyer, notary or financial planner) and the charity who will benefit from your bequest.
An unrestricted bequest is a gift – most often of cash – that you give to a charity without restrictions on how it should be used. Most Canadian charities follow one of two practices in the assignment of unrestricted bequests:
- Charities use unrestricted bequest money for a set purpose outlined in their boards’ policies (such as for an endowment or for general operations)
- Charities use unrestricted bequest money for the current area of most need (such as a large equipment purchase).
“I give, devise and bequeath to the Stan Cassidy Foundation of Fredericton the sum of [insert dollar amount here] to be used by the Stan Cassidy Foundation in the most appropriate way as determined by its Board of Directors.”
In contrast, a restricted bequest is a gift – again, most often of cash – that you give to a charity with restrictions on how it must be used. You may want your bequest to be used for a specific purpose such as research, education, patient care or building and equipment purchases.
It is important to keep such restrictions well-defined but broad (such as the examples just noted) because very specific priorities change rapidly and you do not want your bequest to be unusable. For instance, a charity may require a new MRI machine now, but in the year you pass away, not require one. If you restrict your bequest specifically to an MRI machine, your gift will be held up in legal red tape and not doing the good you intended.
“I give, devise and bequeath to the Stan Cassidy Foundation of Fredericton the sum of [insert dollar amount here] to be used for [insert restriction such as “equipment to benefit patient care” here].”
A residual bequest designates whatever remains of your estate after all debts, taxes, expenses, and all other bequests to your beneficiaries have been fulfilled. Unlike the previous two types of bequests, a residual bequest defines the circumstances under which the bequest will occur, rather than the direction of the bequest.
“I give, devise and bequeath to the Stan Cassidy Foundation of Fredericton all [or “x percent of”] the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to be used .…”
Like a residual bequest, a contingent bequest defines the circumstances under which the bequest will occur, rather than the direction for the gift. A contingent bequest takes place only if specific individuals do not survive you.
“If [insert name/s of beneficiaries] does not survive me, or shall die within 90 days from the date of my death, then I give the Stan Cassidy Foundation of Fredericton….”