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Bequests: Making a gift through your Will

Q&A with Western University's bequests team

August 11, 2015

Gift of a lifetime: making a bequest
Meet Western’s bequests team (from left): Carole Stinson, Executive Director, Development Programs, Mike O’Hagan, Gift Planning Officer, and Jane Edwards, Gift Planning Officer.

Q. Why choose a charity for a bequest?

A. One of the most important choices you can make during your lifetime is the impact you wish to make through your Will. After taking care of the people closest to you – family or friends – you may wish to leave a gift through your Will, known as a bequest, to support a charitable organization. You might select an organization that had a significant impact on your life achievements, or through which you can help someone else or advance a cause that has deep personal meaning.

Q. Who can make a bequest?

A. Anyone can make a bequest. Contributions of all sizes have a meaningful impact at Western. The University receives bequests from alumni and non-alumni alike, ranging from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars from people who have decided to remember Western through their Wills. You are never too young to have a Will, so really anyone can leave a bequest.

Q. What is the most common way to leave a gift?

A. The most common way to leave a gift is through your Will. A bequest can be made by leaving a specific dollar amount to Western, or as a percentage of the residue of your estate. Our bequests team is available to discuss other future gift options with you such as life insurance, securities or registered retirement funds.

Q. What are the benefits of making a bequest?

A. One of the great benefits of making a bequest is that you might be able to provide a greater level of support to Western through your Will than possible during your lifetime, especially if you need to keep most of your assets available. There are also tax advantages to making a bequest that benefit your estate. Your Will can also be modified if your financial circumstances change.

Q. What areas of Western benefit from bequests?

A. You can designate your bequest to support the area of Western closest to your heart. For some people, this means setting up scholarships and bursaries to help future students achieve their dreams; for others, this means supporting a particular faculty or area of research at Western. Bequests can be expendable or, depending on the level, set up as endowments. You can also leave funds to the highest priorities of the University, knowing that your gift will have a great impact on students, faculty and researchers when the time comes.

Q. How would someone go about making a bequest to Western?

A. When considering a bequest, it is important to seek the guidance of qualified financial and legal advisors. Our bequests team is available to provide sample language for your Will, discuss options with you or your representative, and provide support to ensure your wishes will be followed. We want you to have full confidence in your decision. Western’s faculty, staff and students know that it is a great honour to receive your bequest and we sincerely value your trust and commitment to the University’s future.

Helpful Resources

Sample Bequest Language for your Will

Statement of Intent - We would love to know if you have already included Western in your estate plans.

For more information, contact a member of Western’s bequests team directly: Jane Edwards (519-661-2111, ext. 88829 or jane.edwards@uwo.ca), Mike O’Hagan (519 661-2111, ext. 85585 or mike.ohagan@uwo.ca) or Carole Stinson (519 661 2111, ext. 85696 or cstinson@uwo.ca).


This article appeared in the Summer 2015 edition of Impact Western
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