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November 9, 2020: Phil Levson, on Wills, Estates, and Planned Giving

Phil Levson is a native of Calgary. He and his wife, Sherry, have five adult children with the first grandchild now three months old! Phil has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Calgary. He has worked in the non-profit sector for over 23 years. Phil has also owned a few local Calgary businesses.

Phil is currently the president and principal of the Non-Profit Management Group consulting to a number of charities, locally and nationally. He is past chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners for Southern Alberta. He was one of the founding directors for Leave A Legacy Calgary. He has been an active volunteer with various non-profits and most recently as the president of the Inglewood Community Association.

Phil’s presentation was on Planned Giving – Leaving Your Legacy for the Future. He had a well-prepared slide show which I would encourage you to see on the recording distributed by Gord Cox.

Planned giving reduces taxes, reduces probate and estate costs, directs money to your favorite charities, and can be an immediate or deferred gift. Phil tells us what may motivate us including supporting a cause, making a meaningful contribution, repaying for benefits received, ensuring long-term survival perhaps of your favorite charity, commemorating a life, and creating a legacy. Best of all is it just feels good to give!

He suggests the donor needs to explore his/her values to find the right cause to support. What is your donor vision? There is a move toward donor-centric gifting, donor stewardship, an informed knowledgeable donor and recognition. He states you always take care of family first. If you sell a business, there could be a tax liability. Stocks, real estate, and retirement plans can generate potential gifts.

Major legislative changes in 1997 through the federal budget increased donation limits to 75% of net income. The limit at death increased to 100%. All planned gifts can have positive tax implications. As of 2006, there is no capital gains on charitable gifts of securities. The Alberta government is the best geographic area for gift giving because 50% of our gifting is returned to income on charitable receipts after the first $250. Please refer to the table in the slide presentation for an example of stock gifts versus cash gifts.

Making a charitable bequest can be suggested in several ways, but Phil suggests that a percentage bequest is the easiest way to identify and manage. He suggests using “tailored to fit” solutions and, if you plan to name a charity in your will, to discuss this with family, so they know your wishes.

David Watson thanked Phil for his talk.

reported by Marie Rickard

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