Glossary of Terms (Legacy Giving)

Beneficiary: A person entitled to benefit from a Will. Also a person entitled to receive the proceeds of a trust, RRSP or life insurance policy.

Bequest: A gift by Will of personal property: also a legacy.

Capital Gain/Loss: A capital gain is when you sell something for more than it cost. A capital loss is the difference between the price at which a capital asset is sold and its original cost.

Estate: Everything a person owns or owes.  The net estate is the amount left over.

Execute a Will: The act of validly signing a Will.

Executor: (Also referred to as Estate Trustee) A person appointed in a will to carry out the terms of the Will.  Sometimes the term Executrix is used to mean a female executor.

Fair Market Value: The price that an asset would bring on the open market between well informed buyers and sellers.

Gift: A transfer of property without anything in return; the distribution of an estate to beneficiaries.

Planned Giving: The act of planning to give to a charitable organization. Planned giving is also described leaving a legacy. Some examples are: including a charitable organization in your estate when planning your Will, or through stocks and bonds or life insurance, or through a gift or bequest of property such as real estate, jewellery or personal effects.

Probate:  The process of proving the validity of a will in court. The court is referred to as the probate court. A Will needs to be probated before the executor can use it to transfer or sell assets.  This term also verifies the appointment of the executor.

Power of Attorney: The Power of Attorney is the person appointed to act under the terms of a legal Power of Attorney document.

Public Trustee: A provincial official appointed to look after affairs of those who have no one else to do so, either during lifetime or after death. The public trustee also administers the inheritance of minors if a proper trust has not been created by a Will.

Residue, Residuary Estate: Everything left over in the estate of a deceased person after the payment of all debts and taxes and any cash gifts or specific gifts of property have been made.

Spouse: Includes legally married spouses and common law spouses.

Testator: A person who makes a valid Will. Sometimes the term Testatrix is used to mean a female Testator.

Will: A legal document of a person’s wishes concerning the disposal of his or her property after death.


Other Useful Links

Shirley’s Legacy

Frequently Asked Questions

Wills and Charitable Bequests

Planning your Estate and Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Leaving a Gift Through Life Insurance

Gifts of Property

Charitable Remainder Trusts