Legacy Planning

We will leave a lot behind, whether it is financial, spiritual or social. It is important to think about how we plan to hand it all off to those that follow us.

Financial legacy

Finances are a great way to support those things we care about most. When we die, we can decide how our financial legacy will support our family and our St. Matt’s family.

Giving where it counts - Making your will reflect what you care about

Some people don’t prepare a Will. In fact, more than half of Canadians do not have a Will. Either they don’t get round to it or they do not believe they will have anything left to leave behind. But seldom does our money run out on the day we are called home. Many of us will leave behind assets like retirement funds, investments, a home or other property and, with careful planning, we can determine where these assets go — but only with a Will.

Not only does a will help with limiting the red tape that your family will have to go through, but it also tells them what is important to you. If St. Matt’s is important to you I would encourage you to look at the many ways to give:

  • securities, 
  • life insurance, 
  • endowment, 
  • RRSPs or RRIFs
  • Gifts

A properly prepared Will is so very important. Without a Will, your family may have to contend with the many provincial regulations that come into play when no valid Will can be found. Your assets may not be distributed as you might like and your wishes may be stuck in the courts for months with the expenses shouldered by your family.

Without a Will, the government has the power to divide your assets. In Ontario, for example, the law states that your spouse will receive the first $200,000 of your estate. But remaining assets thereafter will be divided between your spouse and any children you may have. But what if you want the entire estate to go to your spouse to replace lost income? Or if your children are too young or unable to receive such inheritances? 

Further, without a Will, you lose the ability to remember your church or any of the other charitable causes you supported during your lifetime, like Wycliffe College. 

While the implications of not having a Will can be significant, preparing a Will can be simple and inexpensive. If your Will is complex the cost will increase but having a lawyer or trust company provide expertise in your Will’s preparation is invaluable. Retaining legal advice helps ensure that provincial laws will be met and that your Will is properly signed and witnessed. 

If you are like most Canadians without a Will, you need not feel alone. But you can begin the process today and create not just a Will – but a gift to your family so they will know exactly how to honour your wishes at a time in the future.


  • Thank you to Wycliffe College for providing these resources
Endowment - Your finances can create a lasting legacy of support for what you care about most

An endowment is an investment where the capital portion of your gift is retained but the income goes to support any area(s) of the College’s work you would like, in perpetuity. There are several options to consider and you may name an endowment after your family or other loved one. 

You may:

  • establish a personal endowment fund during your lifetime with a gift of cash or publicly listed securities.
  • start an endowment with an initial gift now and build it up over time.
  • arrange to activate an endowment through a gift in your will or some other type of legacy gift.
  • begin to build your fund now with gifts over time and then augment it with a future legacy gift.

St. Matthew’s Islington also has a number of established endowed funds to which you may direct your gift. We would be pleased to explore the many options available to you and, in so doing, ensure your wishes to support particular St. Matthew’s ministries are met. Please contact ??? for more information.

  • Thank you to Wycliffe College for providing these resources
Reducing Taxes - Did you know that by simply leaving everything to your heirs you can unintentionally expose your estate to substantial taxes?

Here are some suggestions that will help to reduce the impact of estate taxes. 

  1. Place assets like your house or bank accounts in name jointly with your spouse. This will simplify your estate’s administration, enable assets to be released more quickly to your spouse and reduce probate fees. Assets owned jointly automatically revert to the joint owner and are not considered part of your estate. 
  2. Leave your registered retirement funds to your spouse so they can be moved tax-free into their own RRSP or RRIF. If you do not have a spouse, make sure you name a specific beneficiary for your RRSPs or RRIFs (this can be a loved one or a charity like St. Matthew’s Islington). If either fund goes to your estate, it will be subject to probate and taxation. Registered retirement funds that do not ‘roll over’ or get automatically transferred to a spouse as owner are also subject to tax. Naming a charity as the beneficiary for such funds creates a charitable gift. The tax relief gained from a gift of an RSP can help offset estate taxes significantly. 
  3. If you leave an annuity that is not jointly owned by you and your spouse, leave the entire amount to an heir or charity. If you divide that annuity between two or more people, its cash value will go into your estate and be included as part of your taxable income. 
  4. Review and update your Will regularly to keep up with new family situations and changes in tax rules. 
  5. Remember the charities you value with a gift in your Will. In the year you die, you are deemed to have sold all your assets. Because of this, your reportable income that year can be high and the taxes you have to pay can be high as well. A gift to St. Matthews, for example, will provide your estate with a tax receipt for the full amount of the gift, which in turn can help to offset any taxes owing. Not only can your executor use the tax credits in the year of your death, they may also use these credits during any taxation year for the estate, or the last two taxation years before your passing. 
  6. Your accountant or financial planner can help you determine the ideal amount you need to gift to minimize taxation. At the same time, you can help a charity whose work you value.


  • Thank you to Wycliffe College for providing these resources

Ceremonial Legacy

It is important that we create opportunities for people to remember, say goodbye and find hope in death

Funeral Services - Most families have a hard time thinking about what their loved one would have wanted

Here is a basic form for some of the things we need to know when planning a funeral service

Funeral Information

If you would like any recommendations for hymns or readings here a document recommending a few. (Note: This does not including Old Testament readings such as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 or contemporary music)

funeral readings and hymns

Funeral Home and Cemetery

You can pre-arrange and even pay for most details with funeral homes and cemeteries.

Each place has different strengths. If you would like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to Rev. Philip

Social Legacy

We leave a lot more behind than stuff and memories. It is important to think about what is important to us and how we might pass that on.

Passing on the Faith - What do you want people to know about your faith and history with God?

There are a lot of things that go unspoken, especially when it comes to our faith, but you are a bounty of experiences and faithfulness that needs to be shared.

It isn’t always comfortable to share these things, but it is important we do for ourselves, for those we love and for the love of Christ.

Take some time to think about:

  • Those people in your life that brought you here
  • Those moments that spoke to you about God (whether miraculous or not)
  • What special passages mean something to you and why
  • How God has helped you through your struggles
  • Your prayer life
  • What faith or the faith community has meant to you in different points in your life

Then find a way to share them by having conversations, writing letters, emails, creating videos, and more. You can even write a message to be shared at your funeral.

Passing On History - There is a lot people want to know about you and your family

History and stories are important to many people. People will often look back on those stories to find comfort after a loved ones death.

Family also wants to know where they come from. They want to know what you have been through, your struggles, strengths, successes and so on, because it often helps them understand themselves, but they also often want to know about your parents, spouse, etc.

It doesn’t mean everything, but a little can go a long way.

Passing On Hope - We don't often talk about death, so we don't often know the hope we need

Talk about death with those you love. It may seem very dark, but it will come and talking about it helps us to handle it when it does. People are often very separate and disconnected with death in this day and age, which makes them less able to process their feelings and struggles.

Talking about death also gives you an opportunity to share with them your hope. The Christian faith has a hope for death that cannot be taken away or diminished, helping your loved ones understand this will give them something to lean into in their struggles.

Lastly, with death comes many complex emotions. One of the most difficult is not knowing how we should feel. Loved ones can feel guilty for not crying enough, or like they need to hold on, or any number of things. Talking to your loved ones about your feelings and hopes for after your death can help to alleviate many of these struggles.