Ways to Give

Bequests and Planned Gifts

Bequests and Planned Gifts

McGill University owes its very existence to the foresight of a generous planned gift. The University was founded in 1821 with a bequest from the estate of Scottish-born Montreal merchant James McGill. McGill has since grown from a small college to one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, thanks to the extraordinary legacy of many generations of supporters.

Create your own lasting legacy

Through your Will or other planned gift, you can create your own personal legacy at McGill that will empower future generations of students who in turn will go on to transform thousands of lives through their own contributions.

With easy and thoughtful planning, you can make provisions to recognize academic achievement or provide invaluable financial assistance, or you can support a faculty, school or department of your choice. You may also make your gift in honour or in memory of a special person in your life. Your legacy is your imprint that will ultimately leave a lasting impression on our students for many years to come.

How to make a transformative difference

A planned gift is a charitable donation which can be arranged during your lifetime, but is not available to the University until sometime in the future. Along with a gift in your Will through a bequest, there are other planning options that will also offer you financial benefits while allowing you to achieve your philanthropic goals and ultimately make a transformative difference.

Confirming your intentions

Have you included McGill in your estate plans? If so, we invite you to complete the Letter of Intent and return it to the Bequests & Planned Gifts Office. This document ensures that your wishes are fulfilled and that your gift is used as you have specified. You may direct your gift to support a specific faculty, school or department, or any other areas of your choice, such as scholarships, professorships, research and libraries. Unrestricted gifts are used by the University to address its most pressing needs at the time of receipt.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Bequests

A bequest is a gift made through a will and may include cash, marketable securities, closely held stock, real estate, or tangible personal property. A bequest is one of the most common types of planned gift that McGill receives from an individual.

There are several types of bequests to choose from:

  1. Specific bequest: Designate a fixed dollar amount or specific property to McGill.
  2. Residual or proportional bequest: Designate either your entire estate or a percentage of your estate after other specific bequests are distributed. The advantage of designating a portion of your estate to McGill University is that the bequest automatically adjusts in size as your estate increases or decreases over the years.
  3. Contingent bequest: McGill is only given a bequest in the event of the death of the primary beneficiary named in the will.
  4. Testamentary trust: A testamentary trust is one that is created as part of the provisions of your will to assure the long-term fulfillment of your wishes. It allows you to devise a trust to provide for the ongoing needs of your spouse and family, while retaining the capital to provide a legacy to McGill.

See suggested wording for bequests to McGill University or the "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning" in this quick reference sheet.

Things to consider:

  • Bequests can enhance the value of your estate, as they may enable you to minimize federal and provincial estate taxes.
  • Bequests may allow individuals to make much larger gifts than they could during their lifetimes.
  • Designations for bequests are revocable so you retain control of assets during your lifetime.
  • Your estate may claim gifts in the year of death equal to 100 per cent of your net income in that year and the preceding year.
  • You can support a University priority that meets your interest, such as student aid, building projects, specific programs or research. (We encourage you to do so in consultation with the Bequests and Planned Gifts staff.)
  • There is no minimum giving level for bequests.

When drafting your will, you may use "McGill University" or "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning" for our legal name.

Our Charitable Registration Number for Revenue Canada is 11912 8981 RR0001, and our I.R.S. Tax Number for the U.S. is EIN 98-6001153.

Letter of Intent: Have you included McGill in your estate plans? Completing the Letter of Intent ensures that your wishes are fulfilled and that your gift is used as you have specified.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Charitable Gift Annuity

Benefit now, have an impact later

A McGill charitable gift annuity is a great way to increase your income, while supporting higher education. McGill University can provide annual, semi-annual or quarterly payments to you and/or your co-annuitant for the remainder of your life, in return for an irrevocable gift of cash or securities. The annuity rate is based on the age of the income recipient(s). This is an ideal giving vehicle for donors 60 years and older, with a minimum investment of $10,000.

Things to consider:

  • You will receive an immediate income tax receipt for a portion of the gift.
  • If transferring securities, you may benefit from the elimination of the capital gains tax.
  • Your annuity provides a lifetime stream of fixed payments for you and/or your co-annuitant, even in volatile markets.
  • Your annuity provides the security of a fixed guaranteed income backed by the University’s endowment fund.
  • You can support a University priority that meets your interest, such as student aid, building projects, specific programs or research. (We encourage you to do so in consultation with the Bequests and Planned Gifts staff.)
  • Minimum age for annuitants is 60 years of age and older.
  • Minimum charitable gift annuity level is $10,000.
  • A charitable gift annuity frees you from investment and management worries, with no administrative charges.
  • Fixed payments may be tax-free, depending on the age of the annuitant(s).

See an example of an annuity chart here >>

Letter of Intent: Have you included McGill in your estate plans? Completing the Letter of Intent ensures that your wishes are fulfilled and that your gift is used as you have specified.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Life Insurance

A gift of life insurance can have a far greater impact than you might think. A relatively small effort today may one day have a considerable influence on McGill’s future students, researchers and faculty.

There are several ways of making a gift through life insurance:

  • Surrender an existing policy: Often individuals own life insurance that they purchased for financial security when they were younger. Circumstances may have changed so that the life insurance policy is no longer needed, and the ownership of the existing policy can be transferred to McGill University. In this case, you receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the policy at the time of your gift (which may exceed the policy’s cash surrender value). If premiums are still being paid on the policy, you will receive tax receipts for all future premiums.
  • Purchase a new policy: You purchase a new policy and name McGill University as the owner and beneficiary. You receive a tax receipt for premiums paid each year. McGill will receive the proceeds of the life insurance policy upon your death and use the funds to support the area(s) that you have chosen.
  • Designate McGill as the beneficiary of your policy: You can name McGill University as a beneficiary of a new or existing insurance policy. Upon your death, McGill will receive the proceeds of the life insurance and your estate will receive a charitable tax receipt equal to the policy’s death benefit.

Things to consider:

  • A gift of life insurance may allow you to make a larger gift than you could make from your current disposable income.
  • McGill issues you official tax receipts for premiums paid on the policies it owns.
  • Your gift will not be reduced due to taxes, fees, cost of probate or administration.
  • There is no minimum gift level for gifts of life insurance.
  • You can support a University priority that meets your interest, such as student aid, building projects, programs or research. (We encourage you to do so in consultation with the Bequests and Planned Gifts staff.)

Letter of Intent: Have you included McGill in your estate plans? Completing the Letter of Intent ensures that your wishes are fulfilled and that your gift is used as you have specified.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Retirement Plan Assets

Protect your savings

Although you may want your heirs to receive all the assets remaining in your retirement plan, estate and income taxes could reduce its value by close to 50 per cent, leaving your loved ones with only a small fraction of what you had intended. In addition to the income tax due on the assets, the plan is also subject to federal and provincial estate taxes.

Rather than see your hard-earning savings diminished by taxes, you may wish to consider donating all or part of your retirement plan. Amounts from retirement plans for charitable use are still included in your taxable estate, but they are fully deductible from your estate as charitable gifts. This type of gift is appropriate for single or widowed individuals without dependents, as retirement plans are taxable to anyone other than a spouse or dependent child.

Things to consider:

  • You are able to make a larger gift than otherwise possible.
  • You have use of the retirement plan while you are alive.
  • Designations for retirement plans are revocable, so you remain in control of your finances.
  • You can support a University priority that meets your interest, such as student aid, building projects, specific programs or research. (We encourage you to do so in consultation with the Bequests and Planned Gifts staff.)
  • The estate receives a charitable tax receipt for the amount of the gift. Any unused portion can be carried back to the year immediately preceding the year of death, up to 100 per cent of your net income.
  • When designating your retirement plan assets, please use our legal name "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning" or "McGill University" and our business number #11912 8981 RR0001.
  • In Quebec, you must also state in your will that the "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning" or "McGill University" is the beneficiary of your retirement plan, in order to benefit from a charitable tax receipt.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Geography matters

With a charitable remainder trust, you can make a major donation of capital, while you continue to receive income. Find out more, depending on where you live:

Recognizing Your Gift

tea with principal

Our Recognition Societies

We take great pride in acknowledging your planned gift and we thank you for your generosity!

When you inform us of your intention to make a planned gift to McGill, you become a member of one of our two recognition societies, which offer wonderful social events where you can meet other planned donors, as well as University leaders.

The McGill 1821 Society and the Macdonald Legacy Society honour those who have remembered McGill in their estate plans or with another form of planned gift. When you let us know your intentions, you will receive a certificate of membership in one of these societies signed by the principal, along with a commemorative pin.

Each year, the McGill 1821 Society and the Macdonald Legacy Society host a special recognition event to honour those who have chosen to support McGill through a planned gift. Over the last few years, McGill has hosted a special Afternoon Tea with the Principal.

Planned Giving Publications

Read all about it – Planned Giving at a glance

Looking for Planned Giving information basics? Our brochure has answers to many of your questions.

Download the Planning Giving brochure >>

Téléchargez notre brochure >>

Estate Planning Newsletter

Have a look at the latest issues of our Estate Planning Newsletter. We hope the stories and information provided here will inspire you and help you to plan ahead for your gift of a lifetime.

Testimonials

Below is a sampling of past profiles and testimonials from the McGill News, the University’s alumni magazine. We hope you enjoy reading the stories of people just like you, who want to make a difference with a gift of a lifetime.

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.

Get to Know Us

team photo

From left: Nella Malacria, Donna Henchey, Susan Reid, Cynthia Gordon and Debbie Larocque

You are our inspiration

It is inspiring for all of us in Bequests and Planned Gifts to witness how philanthropy changes lives.

The overwhelming message we hear from students, researchers and faculty who benefit from a planned gift is a profound gratitude to the donors who have made it possible for them to pursue their dreams.

With a little planning, you can create a lasting legacy for generations to come, and we invite you to Contact Us.

We're here to help

Bequests and Planned Gifts Staff

Cynthia Gordon
Estate Administrator
514-398-5388
cynthia [dot] gordon [at] mcgill [dot] ca
 
  Donna Henchey
Associate Director, Bequests and Planned Gifts
514-398-3559
donna [dot] henchey [at] mcgill [dot] ca
 
Debbie Larocque
Associate Director, Bequests and Planned Gifts
514-398-4297
debbie [dot] larocque [at] mcgill [dot] ca
 
  Nella Malacria
Administrative Assistant
514-398-3560
nella [dot] malacria [at] mcgill [dot] ca
 
Susan Reid
Director, Bequests and Planned Gifts
514-398-8286
susan [dot] reid [at] mcgill [dot] ca
   

We thank you for your interest

Contact us for information about planned giving. Not only will you learn how easy it is to make a planned gift, you’ll receive a Personal Planner to help organize your records, with no obligation on your part.

Contact Us

The staff of McGill’s Bequests and Planned Gifts Office will be pleased to assist you and your legal/financial counsel in creating your gift of a lifetime.

Telephone: 514-398-3560 or 1-800-567-5175 (toll-free in North America)

Email: plannedgifts [dot] dev [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Bequests and Planned Gifts
McGill University
1430 Peel Street
Montreal, QC H3A 3T3

Information on this site is of a general nature and not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your income tax, financial and/or legal advisors before arranging a planned gift. All requests for information are confidential.