Making a specific provision in your will for a bequest is a great way to provide for a charity or a specific person. A bequest is a gift of money or property, and comes from your estate. If you pass away without a will, then you will not have control over gifts of this kind.

Bequests to charities and not-for-profit associations are very common, and something that many people include in their wills. However, it’s important the charity is clearly and correctly named in the will. For example, do you want the national head office to receive the gift, or the provincial branch?

If the bequest is for a minor, you can specify at what age this person will receive the gift (for example, 18 years of age). Note that if no age is specified, and the child is a minor at the time of estate distribution, then the funds will be paid either to the parent/guardian of the child (for bequests under $10,000) or to Ontario Superior Court by the estate trustees (the balance when it is over $10,000).

Bequests and gifts are not without problems. The main issue is when there are not enough assets in the estate to pay out the bequests in full. In these cases, the bequests will be abated; meaning they will be reduced in value.

For assistance with setting up bequests and gifts, contact our Estate Law Group.