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Gift & estate planning

What do you want your legacy to look like? Find out how you can amplify your future impact through planned giving.

You understand that the future may be uncertain, but an education will always be valuable. You have a strong desire to give students the opportunity to follow their passion, fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential. 

Research discoveries that solve our greatest issues, innovations that change our world, leaders who build healthy, sustainable communities - this is your legacy when you invest in the intellect of bright minds.

We are here to help you! If you have any questions, or need help with sample will wording, please contact Rory Green, Director of Gift & Estate Planning at 778-782-6799 or Rory_Green@sfu.ca

Legal name: Simon Fraser University
Address: 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6
Charitable business no. #118520725 RR0001


Planning your gift

Your estate plan decisions are unique to your interests and financial situation. Take a moment and look through our many giving options below.

Gift in will

A gift in your will is a deeply personal, forward-thinking way to give. Once family and friends are cared for, we hope you'll remember SFU. Your legacy will brighten the future of every student who is touched by your generosity. 

Additionally, a well-planned gift is ideal when you want to reduce or even eliminate your final income taxes. The most common types of bequests are: 

  • Residual bequest: SFU receives a portion of the remainder of your estate after other specific gifts have been made. 
  • Specific bequest: SFU receives a specific dollar amount or stated fraction of your estate or a specified gift of property (collections, art, books, real estate, etc.).
  • Contingent bequest: SFU would receive a stated share of your estate, but only in the event of the prior death of other named beneficiaries. 
  • Trust remainder bequest: Named beneficiaries receive income from a trust established in the will. Upon death of the surviving beneficiaries, or at the end of the specified term, all or part of the remaining principal will pass to SFU.  

Whether you're considering a major revision of your current will or you're about to have a will drafted for the first time, making a bequest to SFU is easy to do. We're here to answer your questions and provide expert guidance at every step.
Have you already included SFU in your estate plans? Your commitment is sincerely valued, and we want to make sure our information regarding your estate plans is up-to-date and your preferences for recognition are honoured.


Life insurance

Life insurance can be an economical way to create a large and lasting charitable gift, and some policy donations can also result in significant tax savings during your lifetime or for your estate.
We strongly recommend that you fully discuss your options and/or intentions with a professional expert to get advice that's correct for you. 
Four options, four benefits

  1. Name SFU as a beneficiary of your insurance policy: Your estate will receive a donation receipt for the value of the policy, which will offset income taxes due to your estate. 
  2. Donate a paid-up policy designating SFU as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary: This will trigger a tax receipt from SFU for the cash surrender value at the time it is transferred.
  3. Purchase a policy designating SFU as owner and beneficiary: All premium payments can then be claimed as a charitable donation on your tax return.
  4. Donate ownership of an existing policy and name SFU as a beneficiary: SFU will give a tax receipt for the cash surrender value of the policy, and annual donation receipts will be generated for the value of your premium payments. 

Some gifts involving life insurance require pre-approval by the university and others do not. Please connect with us for more information.

Please note that in March 2020, the BC Financial Services Association issued this information bulletin clarifying the interpretation and application of section 152 of the Insurance Act to certain activities related to the charitable donation of life insurance policies in British Columba. It determined the options outlined above are not prohibited by section 152 of the Act.


Next to personal real estate, registered retirement funds are the most important investment for Canadians. They can be a source of income during our retirement years but can also contribute to our final tax bill, as any remaining value in the fund is fully taxable as income when we pass away.

Using your registered retirement funds to support a gift to SFU can reduce the taxes you pay both now and later.

Three options, three benefits:

  1. Name charitable organizations like SFU as final beneficiaries of your RRSP, RRIF or TFSA: this can eliminate deferred taxes on your funds completely, and leave more money for your loved ones by keeping these assets out of probate.
    • Note: If you choose to name SFU as a direct beneficiary, contact your RRSP/RRIF/TFSA sponsor (your bank, investment trust, or insurance company) to determine if a change of beneficiary form needs to be completed.
  2. Withdraw extra funds from an RRIF or capital from an RRSP or TFSA and donate the same amount: You'll receive a tax receipt offsetting the income tax payable on the withdrawal.
  3. Use the RRIF withdrawal to pay a premium on a charitable life insurance policy that will leverage your payments for a significant future gift to SFU: Name SFU as the owner and beneficiary of the life insurance policy, and you'll receive a tax receipt offsetting the taxes due on your RRIF withdrawals.


Donating appreciated securities is simple, cost-effective and the most tax-efficient way to make a charitable gift.

You can make a charitable gift of securities by using any one of the following types: prescribed bonds, units of mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), shares, warrants and futures that are listed on the stock exchanges prescribed by Canada Revenue Agency.

Benefits to you:

  • Capital gains income on securities that have been donated to charity are non-taxable - the entire donation amount results in a tax credit.
  • Straightforward and easy to transfer: your broker can usually execute a transfer in one or two days.
  • Your charitable tax receipt is equal to the mid-point trading value or closing value of your securities, whichever is higher, on the date the securities are received by SFU.
  • The proceeds from your securities are directed to the area of your interest.

You can deduct the entire gift in the current year or carry taxes credits forward for up to five years.

Illustration of tax savings

Interested in gifting securities? Visit our Securities & Stocks page for details.

Stock options

Donations involving employee stock options in a public company can be one of the most tax efficient ways to make a donation.

Normally, when stock options are exercised for personal gain, the difference between the stock's fair market value and its exercise price is considered a taxable employment benefit. This benefit is then taxed as a capital gain, such that 50% of the profit is counted as income; employers must withhold the required taxes on that amount, including EI and CPP.

However, charitable gifts arranged by donating stock options can result in a high value gift at low cost. 

Benefits to you:

  • Reduced cost of giving
  • Simple transaction
  • Maximized tax benefits

Interested in gifting stocks? Visit our Securities & Stocks page for details.

Real estate & personal property

Many Canadians, especially those of us in B.C., have seen tremendous growth in real estate value in recent years. Investment in your primary residence can grow without the tax burden of capital gains, and your primary residence can be passed on to theirs without taxation. However, this is not the case for investment properties and vacation homes.

The option to make a gift of real property is a chance to make a significant impact at SFU, as well as avoid paying taxes on gains when selling vacation homes and investment properties.

You can transfer ownership of your property (real estate, works of art, personal collections etc.) as a donation to SFU, and receive a fair market value receipt for tax purposes now or to be used in your estate planning.  Additionally, gifts of residual interest may be considered in which you may retain the use of the property during your lifetime.

Benefits to you:

  • Immediate tax savings
  • Continued use of your property for your lifetime
  • Satisfaction of knowing SFU will benefit from your gift in the future
  • Your gift passes to the university outside of the estate process, thus reducing your estate probate taxes

Charitable remainder trusts

A common concern for many people, especially seniors, is that a large gift now or in their will may leave them or their loved ones short of future income. A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is one option for making a significant contribution while maintaining future financial security.
A CRT is any trust where all of a portion of the remaining trust assets are distributed to a charity at the trust's termination. For example, you may benefit greatly by transferring property to a trust that will eventually be a charitable gift to SFU.
If you’re considering a trust arrangement gift, we strongly recommend that you carefully review the implications with your financial advisor.  

Benefits to you:

  • Gift is made during your lifetime or created through your will.  
  • A charitable gift receipt provides tax savings.
  • May permit gifting over time.
  • Your gift is protected from challenges by other potential beneficiaries.
  • Could result in favourable tax treatment of certain capital gains properties.

For professional advisors

Helping clients realize their charitable goals is an important part of your practice. As you are aware, there are many opportunities to reduce taxes, increase current income and create a meaningful family legacy.  We’re here to support by providing customized clause language for wills or tax-effective charitable gift options.
You can consult directly with us to have a custom clause prepared for you or have your client’s legal advisor call to discuss their plans in confidence.

Consider how your client would like their gift utilized at SFU:

  • Unrestricted gifts support an area of greatest promise or need.
  • Restricted gifts go to a specific area or purpose.
  • Expendable gifts are spent and used in their entirety over a designated period of time.
  • Endowed gifts last in perpetuity.

Here are a few examples of the types of clauses to discuss with your client:

  • Specific gift clauses are used when your client would like SFU to receive a certain asset or dollar amount, or perhaps a set percentage of their estate.
  • Residual gift clauses are used when your client would like SFU to receive a portion of their estate after all specific gifts have been made.
  • Trust remainder clauses direct your client’s estate trustee to set up an income fund for your client’s spouse and/or children but when they no longer need the income, whatever is left over will be given to SFU.
  • Contingency clauses describe a gift for SFU that will only happen if someone who is named in your client’s will dies before they do.

Get in touch to take the next steps

Your estate plans are unique to your interests and financial situation. We're here to answer questions and provide expert guidance at every step. 


Rory Green
Director, Gift & Estate Planning

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