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A woman demonstrating proper etiquette by offering a cup of water to a small barefoot girl.

Philanthropy: Robert Breault Insisted Helping Others is Obligatory

Written for Philanthropists

“To help someone in need is not charity it is proper etiquette.”

Robert Breault

Robert Breault (1926-2017) was a French-Canadian poet who lived to age 91. He was born in Massachusetts and served in the United States Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946. After the war, Breault settled in Canada and pursued a career as a poet and author. He published numerous poetry collections and chaired the Quebec Writers’ Federation from 1979 to 1981.

Breault’s longevity allowed him to compose poetry late into life. His published works span over 50 years, with his final book of poems released when he was 90. Writing sustained Breault across nine decades of dramatic social change. Through it all, he consistently emphasized human dignity and the importance of community.

The quote above from Breault succinctly captures his humanistic worldview. He reframes charity not as a generous option but as an essential act of proper etiquette. Breault suggests our responsibility to help others in need comes from a shared humanity transcending circumstance. Showing concern for each other is not just a nice thing but a baseline for ethical behaviour.

Proper etiquette requires acknowledging our interdependence. Though we each face unique challenges, we all experience hardship and sometimes rely on community. Creating a just society demands that we support each other through difficulty. Breault insists the impulse to assist others should stem not from pity or even generosity but from a core belief in human dignity.

This quote’s sentiment aligns well with philanthropy and estate planning goals. Leaving charitable gifts in your Will is a way to continue practicing proper etiquette even after you pass away. Designating donations formalizes your concern for others into an enduring legacy. Planning charitable bequests is both kind and appropriate.

Make Lasting Change Through Your Estate Plan

Planning donations as part of your estate is a powerful way to create positive change. Here are some key benefits of designating charitable gifts in your Will or estate:

  • Make a larger impact than possible during life. With prudent investing and ongoing compounding returns, your estate assets can far exceed what you could give earlier. This growth allows transformative gifts.
  • Simplify giving. Your executor can easily transfer pre-planned gifts, avoiding complications for your heirs and delays for the charities.
  • Reduce taxes. Donated assets escape capital gains taxes. Gifts also lower probate fees assessed on the estate when made via beneficiary designations rather than through a will.
  • Establish a legacy of values. Embedding philanthropy in your estate plan formally conveys your passions and principles to future generations.
  • Enhance personal fulfillment. Knowing your support will endure can provide deep satisfaction and meaning.

With prudent planning, philanthropy can become a core part of an impactful estate plan, benefiting society for years.

Craft Custom Solutions to Care for All

At Taxevity, we can help you review your financial situation and identify how to provide for your family while designating charitable gifts that uphold what Breault calls “proper etiquette”. While your circumstances are unique, clients often find more options than they initially thought. Even minor tweaks to an estate plan can unlock assets, enabling donations to your favourite causes.

We work collaboratively with you and your other advisors to explore possibilities and craft creative solutions. Comprehensive planning allows giving to become an integrated part of a holistic estate plan tailored to your values. We are happy to illustrate options that care for your loved ones now while also leaving a legacy of community support.

Here are some avenues we can explore together:

  • Review beneficiary planning. Analyze how to provide for heirs and charities through will or beneficiary designations.
  • Examine tax strategies. Consider approaches to reduce taxes to free up more for philanthropy.
  • Discuss trusts and foundations. Explore structures to establish endowments giving over time.
  • Use appreciated assets. Donate higher gain assets to increase tax efficiency.
  • Secure estate liquidity. Ensure enough cash remains to cover taxes and expenses despite charitable gifts.
  • Involve heirs early. Discuss philanthropic goals with family to increase alignment and understanding.

The best path integrates your financial realities, family relationships and charitable objectives. You can tailor an estate plan that cares for loved ones and answers Breault’s call to help people in need. Even minor adjustments can create that harmonious balance.

Use Life Insurance to Enhance Charitable Giving

Life insurance is a flexible planning tool to enhance philanthropic goals. Here are some potential benefits of using life insurance policies for charitable giving:

  • Leave financial assets to your heirs while still donating. Life insurance allows you to fully transfer other estate assets directly to your family while using the insurance payout to give a significant gift to charity. This helps you balance priorities.
  • Make larger donations than otherwise possible. Life insurance can create a more sizable charitable donation than allocating other existing assets, greatly magnifying your impact. Policies can be structured to give vast sums.
  • Replace donated assets donated. Are you already planning to donate assets during your lifetime? Life insurance can help replenish those gifts for your heirs.
  • Give beyond a lifetime. Funding a permanent life insurance policy enables you to make substantial donations over decades, far exceeding your remaining life expectancy.
  • Simplicity and control. Life insurance policies specify your charitable gift details, avoiding later complications for executors and heirs.
  • Tax advantages. Life insurance policies with a cash value grow tax-sheltered, and charity payouts reduce tax bills.

Life insurance can provide financial protection while offering unique advantages for charitable planning goals such as leaving enduring legacies, giving large amounts, and providing for multiple priorities. Our expertise helps craft solutions that leverage life insurance to care for your loved ones and causes.

Make An Impact With Tax-Advantaged Giving

Canadian tax rules offer incentives to encourage charitable donations, including gifts made through your estate plan. Here are key tax benefits:

  • Eliminate tax on appreciated securities. Donating securities, mutual funds or stock options with unrealized capital gains eliminates the taxes on those gains.
  • Reduce probate fees. Naming a charity as the life insurance beneficiary reduces probate fees because the tax-free payout bypasses your estate and goes directly to the charity.
  • Reduce your final tax bill. Gifts made through your Will or estate can reduce your taxable income by 100% in the year of death and the prior year. Your executor can use the remaining donation tax receipts in future years.
  • Avoid taxes on registered plans. Designating a charity as the beneficiary of your RRSPs or RRIF eliminates the hefty taxes otherwise due upon death.

Tax rules reward planning charitable bequests, enabling you to accomplish more for your selected causes. 

Proper etiquette and savvy tax planning make donating a portion of your estate a practical approach. We simplify the process so you can leave a legacy of good. Contact us today to explore customized options to care for your loved ones and community. Together, we can craft an estate plan rooted in wisdom, values and generosity.

Learn how the Will Power campaign helps you include a gift to charity in your Will and about the pros and cons of donating life insurance.

Tags: quotations, will power