Northern gannet parent & offspring pair at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, St. Bride's, Newfoundland and Labrator, Canada., Becky Matsubara
Northern gannet parent & offspring pair at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, St. Bride's, Newfoundland and Labrator, Canada. © Becky Matsubara

Legacy gifts

A gift that benefits wildlife and your loved ones

Your legacy gift can help the future of Canada’s iconic wildlife and wild places. A gift in your will allows you to make a commitment today to provide future support and make an impact for generations to come.

With a legacy gift, you can make a statement about how you want to be remembered and what matters to you the most. In addition, legacy gifts provide convenience, tax savings, and other benefits to you, your estate, and your loved ones.

Benefits of legacy gifts

  • You get to choose to protect your family and support the cause that is dear to you. Canada has world-class tax incentives for those who give to charity in their wills. Choosing to support WCS Canada as a charity can reduce, and in some cases, even eliminate the taxes to be paid.
  • You can make a huge impact without affecting your assets during your lifetime. Leaving a small percentage of your estate to WCS Canada can be your largest gift in support of wildlife and will have a bigger impact than most of us would ever be able to make during our lifetime!

Ways to leave a legacy gift

  • Leave a gift in your will

    Designating a gift to WCS Canada in your will is a great way to leave a legacy, stand for wildlife, and help ensure Canada’s wildlife continues to thrive in healthy lands and waters for generations to come. It is also a strategic way to reduce the taxes owed on your estate. Upon receipt of your gift by WCS Canada, your estate will receive a tax receipt that can be applied to the income on your final tax return.

    Choosing to support WCS Canada in your will can reduce, and in some cases, even eliminate the taxes to be paid. You can support the cause near and dear to you without impacting the legacy your family and loved ones receive.


    • Convenience: A legacy gift in your will can be made no matter your age and for any amount.
    • Simplicity: Leaving a gift to WCS Canada in your estate can be as easy as adding a clause to your will. Notify your lawyer or notary and they can take care of adding it in.
    • Affordability: Most charitable gifts in wills are left by donors of average means. Leaving a small percentage of your estate to WCS Canada can be your largest gift to support wildlife and will have a bigger impact than most of us would ever be able to make during our lifetime! Legacy gifts of any size are welcome, appreciated, and will be recognized by membership in the Northern Lights Circle.
    • Tax Relief: Canada has world-class tax incentives for those who give to charity through their estate. A legacy gift in your will is a highly effective way to reduce estate taxes.
    • Tax Planning: WCS Canada will issue a charitable tax receipt for the full value of your bequest, reducing the tax payable on your final return. If your bequest exceeds 100 percent of your net income, the excess may be carried back to the previous tax year or taken forward as part of a graduated rate estate plan.
    • Peace of Mind: You can change your will at any time.
    • Satisfaction: Legacy gifts are made for personal reasons while ensuring that WCS Canada can continue to develop solutions to protect Canada’s most vulnerable wildlife and their habitats, address climate change and help shape policies and conservation action rooted in science. Involve your loved ones in your decision. Make it about celebrating who you are, the values you hold, and the life you lead. Your bequest can create a lasting memorial for you, your family or anyone you may wish to honour.

    Your bequest to WCS Canada may be one, or a combination, of the following:

    • A percentage of your estate
    • The residual of the estate
    • A specific dollar amount
    • Real estate
    • Stocks and securities
    • Insurance policies and annuities.

    The drafting of a will should be arranged with the involvement of legal counsel. It is preferable that you allow for the broadest possible flexibility for determining how your gift should be used by WCS Canada while at the same time ensuring that we can carry out your wishes.


    “To pay WCS Wildlife Conservation Society Canada ___% of the residue of my estate [or the sum of $___________], for the purpose of supporting its highest priority needs”


    The name you should include in your will to make a bequest is “WCS Wildlife Conservation Society Canada”.

    Charitable Business Number: 85425 5882 RR0001

    For more information on leaving a legacy gift of any kind, contact us at

  • Life Insurance

    A gift of life insurance is an affordable way to create a significant legacy. There are two possible ways to give a gift of life insurance:

    • By transferring ownership of an existing or new policy to WCS Canada, you will receive a tax receipt for premiums paid after the date of transfer, benefiting from the tax credit during your lifetime.
    • You can name WCS Canada as a beneficiary of your policy. The resulting tax credit will reduce estate taxes and increase the after-tax value of your estate for other beneficiaries.


    • Simplicity and Convenience: The transaction is simple. Your life insurance specialist can advise you on the type of policy that would best fit your needs, custom design your program, and carry through with the necessary paperwork.
    • Leverage and Estate Preservation: Make a larger gift than you might otherwise be able to do, without impacting your current assets or your estate later. The eventual value of your policy will be far greater than the premiums you pay and is not part of your estate.
    • Save Taxes Today: Depending on arrangements you may receive charitable tax receipts for the premiums paid or the policy’s cash value (Option A).
    • Eliminate Probate, Legal, and Executor Fees: Life insurance is not subject to probate costs or delays in settlement. The full proceeds are payable to WCS Canada, at maturity or upon death.
    • Control: Life insurance is not a matter of public record and allows you to remain anonymous, should you choose. Unlike a will, the gift cannot be contested.
  • Charitable Gift Annuities

    Charitable gift annuities provide support to WCS Canada and a secured income stream for your lifetime. Depending on your age, this income may even be tax-free. An annuity is an agreement where you make an irrevocable payment in return for a guaranteed lifetime income, most or all of which is non-taxable.

    Part of your total contribution is used to purchase an annuity from a licensed insurance company. You receive fixed guaranteed payments for life with a portion of this income tax-free depending on your age, and WCS Canada receives an immediate cash gift to help address urgent conservation needs today. Gift annuities may also be purchased for others, such as parents or grandparents.

  • Retirement Funds (RRSPs/RRIFs)

    WCS Canada can be a named beneficiary on registered retirement plan documents. A tax receipt for the value of the investment gifted will be issued to the donor's estate and can be applied to the final income tax return. You can avoid probate, and gifts of RRSPs/RRIFs are less susceptible to being contested than a charitable bequest.

  • Charitable remainder trusts

    Charitable remainder trusts are a way for donors to make a sizable commitment while maintaining the use of their assets for the duration of their life or the term of the trust. Assets placed in the trust can include cash, stocks, bonds, securities, and other investments. If you establish a charitable remainder trust, you will receive a tax receipt for the present value of your assets calculated using life expectancy and prevailing discount rates at the time the trust is established. A charitable tax receipt will also be sent to you at the time the trust is established.

    Other benefits of charitable remainder trusts include:

    • Carrying the excess tax credit forward for up to five years if your gift exceeds 75% of your net income in the year that the gift is made
    • Receiving lifetime income from your donation
    • Avoiding probate and maintaining the privacy of the details of your gift
  • Memorial Gifts

    In addition to the many ways of making a personal planned gift to WCS Canada, you can also designate us as a beneficiary of memorial donations. WCS Canada will create a customized memorial donation card and will work with your family or estate trustees to facilitate donations to WCS Canada in your memory. WCS Canada will notify next-of-kin of donations received.

All information on this page is general in nature, does not constitute legal or financial advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal, estate planning and/or financial advice before deciding on your course of action.


The Northern Lights Circle celebrates the legacy of our community members who have chosen to make a gift of any size to WCS Canada in their will. Once you have notified us of your legacy gift intention, you will become a member of the Northern Lights Circle.

If you have already made provisions in your will for a gift to WCS Canada, please let us know at

With your consent, you will be recognized in our donor listing. As a member of the Northern Lights Circle, you will be:

  • Listed in the donor listing in our Annual Report
  • Invited to special opportunities for appreciation and acknowledgment
  • Receive Impact reports showcasing the difference your legacy will make in the future

If you'd like to make a private or anonymous gift, public recognition isn't required, and your wishes will be honoured.