Your Will: A Personal Story of Values

by Gillian Doucet Campbell, MA, CFRE

Growing up it was not uncommon to hear my mother say, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” But it was my father who reminded us that as with anything, it’s best to have a healthy balance. He would say, “It’s good to plan for the future but you still need to live today.” 

According to a recent Angus Reid Poll 12% of Canadians plan on leaving a gift to charity in their Will while 31% are undecided. Sometimes, the barrier to giving a gift to a charity or the church through a Will is the belief it will take away from giving to loved ones. But we don’t have to choose. Often, because of the tax advantages of a charitable gift through a Will, the inheritance may not be as affected. That’s why it’s good to talk to a financial advisor. 

Drafting a Will can seem complicated and even morose. But sharing your hopes and expectations with loved ones regarding your Will is important. Even more important though, is taking the time to write it out. Making a Will is an opportunity to think about your relationships, what you own, what certain possessions mean to you, how these may help others, and how they play a role in your Christian faith. Your Will is more than a document about possessions. It is a personal statement reflecting your values and priorities. 

Being notified of a gift in a Will after the giver has died is often a mixed blessing. So often the recipients, such as the people and community of a church, want to show their gratitude. That’s why Susanne Mader, stewardship team leader and parishioner of St. Alban’s, Acton, was grateful their most recent bequest was expected. Mader said, “They always said they would leave money to the church and their children knew that. It just affirmed the work of the church here in Acton. It was like a morale boost. And they knew we were grateful for their dedication and I think they were a sort of inspiration to others. They weren’t rich people; they were ordinary people like most of us. They were faithful and demonstrated their faith through action.” 

St. Mark’s Anglican Church (Orangeville) has also been blessed with numerous gifts from Wills over the years. Some have been endowed to support long-term ministry. Some have augmented the parish’s annual operating funds. Others have been used to support the ministries of the church and diocese or to offset capital expenses. Regardless of their size or designation, St. Mark’s, Orangeville, views a gift from a Will as a true blessing to the parish. Archdeacon Peter Scott (Rector of St. Mark’s, Orangeville) recalls one gift saying, “It was a complete surprise. It arrived with no stipulations. So, we made the decision to use it for our capital campaign. This generous gift allowed our parish to get the work done of the campaign so we could get focused on ministry, blooming where we have been planted to reach our community.”

As faithful stewards we care for our possessions and manage them as wisely as we are able. Giving back through a gift in our Will can mean providing for the church, a ministry of the Diocese, another charity that demonstrates our passions and faith or a mixture of these. Making a Will is an opportunity to think about what we own, what certain possessions mean, and how these may be able to show our love and care long after we are gone. 

If you want to learn more about gift planning, Wills, or other financial gifts, contact Gillian Doucet Campbell, Director of Stewardship and Development at gillian.dc@niagaraanglican.ca