Leave a legacy

Make a significant and long-lasting impact at Dalhousie University. We understand that estate and gift planning is deeply personal. Your confidentiality during this planning process is assured.

There are many ways to support Dalhousie through your estate planning. Here are the most common types of planned gifts we receive:

  • Specific bequest: A gift of a set amount of money or a specific asset, such as property or securities.
  • Residual bequest: A gift of all or a share of whatever is left in the estate after expenses and other legacy gifts have been distributed.
  • Contingent bequest: A gift to Dalhousie only if a certain event occurs (if the primary beneficiary does not survive the donor, for example).
  • Unrestricted: Your bequest can be given outright, without restrictions. We will use it towards Dalhousie’s greatest needs.
  • Restricted: You may wish your gift to be used for a specific purpose, such as to support research, fund a lectureship or to create a permanent (endowed) scholarship or bursary fund in your or a loved one’s name.

Sample bequest clauses

General clause: To make an unrestricted bequest to Dalhousie through your will, we suggest the following legal wording:

I give, devise and bequeath the sum of __________ dollars (or a designated property or portion of estate) to Dalhousie University, both the principal and income to be derived there from to be used in such manner as the Board of Governors of the said University shall from time to time determine.

Vary to purpose clause: At times, circumstances make the specified use of a gift no longer practical or desirable, for instance, if a program is revised or research interests change. For this reason we urge you to insert the following clause in your will:

In the event it becomes difficult or no longer practical to achieve the original purpose of this gift, I authorize Dalhousie University to make changes in its use, keeping as far as possible with the spirit and general intent of the gift.

Tax benefits
A charitable bequest to Dalhousie may provide a significant tax advantage for your estate. Your executor can claim charitable bequests equal to 100 per cent of the income on your final two tax returns.

Donating life insurance as a charitable gift allows you to support Dalhousie in a meaningful way, without reducing the assets in your estate. Choosing this method of giving means the value of your donation will be substantially greater than the cost to you.Many ways to give

  • Contribute a paid-up insurance policy you already own and receive a tax receipt for its cash surrender value. If premiums are still required, all future premiums paid by you will be eligible for a tax receipt.
  • Take out a new policy in Dalhousie’s name and receive a tax receipt for all the premiums you pay.
  • Name Dalhousie as the beneficiary (rather than owner) of an insurance policy,
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) and your estate will receive a tax receipt for the amount of the proceeds paid to Dalhousie.
A charitable gift annuity plan allows donors to make an immediate gift to Dalhousie and receive a guaranteed income for life that can be largely tax-free, depending on donor age. The university uses part of the gift to purchase a prescribed annuity that will pay a guaranteed amount agreed between the donor and the university. Dalhousie will retain the balance of the contribution (after purchasing the annuity) for current use or to accumulate for an endowment, according to the donor’s wishes.

A charitable remainder trust enables you to make a gift to Dalhousie of cash, securities or real estate, while continuing to receive the income from those assets throughout your lifetime. The assets are placed in a trust which is managed by a trustee for the donor or the donor’s named beneficiary for their lifetime. When the trust is terminated, the assets are delivered to the university. There are two types of these trusts:

  • Irrevocable: You receive a tax receipt now for the present value of the remainder interest. Irrevocable trusts are not subject to probate.
  • Revocable: Your estate receives the tax receipt when the assets are delivered to the university.
You may wish to consider funding a trust with highly appreciated property, as the tax on the gain can often be offset by the tax credit. If you have an asset, such as a residence or a piece of art that you wish to donate to Dalhousie, but would like to continue to enjoy the use of during your lifetime, you can arrange the gift now and realize significant tax savings. You are not taxed on the gain if you donate a personal residence. We urge you to consult with your lawyer, estate planner or accountant if you are considering establishing a trust or making a gift of residual interest.


Please contact Development Officer, Siobhan Doherty at siobhan.doherty@dal.ca or 902.494.6853.