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As we grow older, we reach a station in life where some of the financial obligations that we faced when we were younger are no longer of concern. Life insurance was then a necessary protection for our dependents, but now that our responsibilities have diminished, we can use it to assist needy causes. It is a gift that can produce a considerable source of funds, and as it is not part of our estate, its full benefits can be received immediately following our death. It cannot be contested, nor can it be reduced by taxes or administration charges.

You can either purchase a new life insurance policy, or assign ownership of an existing one. In both cases, you would simply name the charity as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of the policy. As for the premiums, they could be sent to the charity (as if they were donations), and the charity would in turn send them to the insurance company. Or, perhaps more practical, you could send them directly to the insurance company. Either way, the charity would issue a tax-deductible receipt for the full amount of the premiums.

In the case of an existing policy that has accumulated a certain monetary value (usually referred to as the cash surrender value of the policy), the benefactor would receive an immediate tax-deductible receipt for its full value, plus of course tax-deductible receipts for all future premium payments made by the donor. A disposition (or sale) will be deemed to have taken place, and depending on the adjusted cost basis of the policy, there may be an amount added to the donor's income in the year of disposition.

Insurance policies can contain a waiver of premiums' clause, thereby ensuring that the policy will remain in force even if the donor becomes unable to make the insurance payments, due to disability.

It is also possible for a donor to name a charity as the revocable beneficiary of a policy and retain ownership of the policy. In this case, however, tax-deductible receipts cannot be issued for the premiums paid nor for the cash surrender value (if any), as the insurance policy has not been irrevocably gifted to the charity.

Your life insurance agent could provide you with more specific information on the various types of policies, or if you prefer, we could have a reliable insurance company contact you.

Note: Information on this page is not intended as specific financial planning or legal advice. We encourage you to consult your lawyer or financial advisor should you consider making such an important gift.

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The Call of the Poor
P.O. Box 117
St. Norbert, Manitoba
R3V 1L5
(204) 275-1432