LEAVE A LEGACY: Canadian Cancer Society

A helpful tip to eliminate taxes during will preparation

A helpful tip to eliminate taxes during will preparation

Alice Trickett and her husband moved to a farm in Aldergrove soon after they were married. They enjoyed their home immensely and raised three lovely children there. Although motherhood occupied much of each day, Alice carved out special time to support community causes both financially and as a volunteer.

Alice’s life changed forever when she developed breast cancer at age 57.

After her cancer diagnosis in 1986, she re-focused her energy on the cancer cause. She became a door-to-door canvasser, collecting donations to the Canadian Cancer Society for over 20 years. Cancer invaded her life again, reoccurring just two years later. Alice underwent another round of treatment and survived. Cancer stole all three of her brothers. Alice’s granddaughter Crystal was diagnosed with lymphoma and survived a bone marrow transplant. Sadly, Alice passed away in 2008.

Prior to passing, Alice had met with a lawyer to update her will. In preparing her will, her first priority was to remember her family. But she was also concerned about the high estate taxes she would pay on her passing.

These would be taxes the government might take from her estate. She wanted some assurance to prevent this from happening. So, on her own, she created an innovative clause and attached it to her will as a codicil.

The clause instructed her executor to calculate the taxes owing at her death and in the previous year, and to make charitable donations just large enough to eliminate those taxes owing through her estate.

The wording in this clause would ensure the majority of her estate would pass to her own family, and the government’s share would be replaced with the charities she cared about.

The Canadian Cancer Society recognized that Alice’s strategy – replacing taxes with a gift to charity, without unduly impacting family and other loved ones – might appeal to many others, so the Society asked an estate lawyer to review and re-word Alice’s codicil with a view to sharing it with the general public.

The “Estate Tax Eliminator Clause” can be used by people who wish to consider this type of strategy when preparing their wills.

While many people can use this clause effectively to reduce their estate taxes, the Canadian Cancer Society cautions that people preparing their will should first review this strategy with both legal and tax professionals to determine its suitability for each individual’s unique personal situation.

To view the Estate Tax Eliminator Clause, contact Tim Staunton at tstaunton@bc.cancer.ca, 1-800-663-2524 (ext. 299), or 604-675-7111.