The Gift of Life Insurance

A creative way to increase your gift and leave a substantial legacy to the church

For a comparatively small cost, you can provide a large gift to your congregation, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and/or another area of ministry, through the gift of life insurance.

Many donors would like to make significant contributions to their congregations and other areas of ministry; however, they may not have the financial resources to make a large gift during their lifetime. A life insurance gift can be a creative way to make a meaningful gift that you didn’t think was possible. You can make a gift of either a new or existing policy.

Benefits of Gifting Life Insurance

  Satisfaction – Knowledge that your legacy gift will support transformational mission and ministry far into the future.

  Simplicity – Policies are easily obtained through an insurance company or broker.

  Doing What Seemed Impossible – Depending on health and age, you create a substantial future gift with small or modest premium payments now.

  Tax Benefits – The final value of your policy will be far greater than the premiums you pay. Tax credits for those premiums could help offset your costs even more.

  Peace of Mind – A gift of life insurance does not reduce the size of your estate.

  Direct – The gift goes directly to the church upon your death and is not considered a part of your estate. In this way, you avoid probate and other administration fees.

The Advantages of a Gift of Life Insurance

When the church is the owner and beneficiary of your policy, you can receive a charitable tax receipt for every dollar you pay in premiums.

Since gifts of life insurance flow directly to the church outside the estate, your gift is not delayed while the estate is being settled and there are no deductions for probate or estate administration fees. A new insurance bequest for the church does not reduce the size of your estate. Policies are available through most insurance companies, or you can modify an existing policy to provide a charitable bequest.

“By the power at work within us God can accomplish abundantly more than all we can ask for or imagine.”

Ephesians 3:20

Ways to Give Using Life Insurance

How a Gift of Life Insurance Works

Ms. Lee, aged 45, wanted her congregation to receive a significant gift to help replace her annual givings to the church after she dies. However, she needed to keep her current capital assets intact. Ms. Lee learned that she could get a “term‐to‐100” life insurance policy of $150,000 that is guaranteed to be paid in 10 years. As a non‐smoker, her policy will cost about $3,000 per year.

Total premiums paid (10 years x $3,000) $30,000
Total amount of charitable receipts issued $30,000
After-tax* cost of policy $16,200
Total gift to the church will be $150,000

Because of the charitable donation receipts she received, Ms. Lee was able to provide a substantial future gift of $150,000 for her church for a net after‐tax cost of only $16,200. *Assumes a combined provincial and federal charitable tax credit of 46 percent (after the first $200 in charitable givings. Note: Provincial tax credit rates differ).

Creative Uses of Life Insurance

Convertible Existing Policy

Mr. Park has a term life insurance policy which is coming up for renewal. He is considering dropping the policy because he no longer needs it for his original beneficiary. In talking with his broker, however, he discovers that the policy can be converted to a universal life policy for which he is pre-approved without a medical exam and which will provide a $100,000 death benefit. By making the church the owner and beneficiary of the policy, Mr. Park will receive a tax receipt for the amount he pays in premiums.

Special note: not all term life insurance policies are convertible; contact your insurance agent for advice.

Purchasing a New Policy

Mr. and Mrs. Flores want to contribute to their congregation’s capital campaign, but they are concerned that their gift would diminish the amount available for their children’s inheritance. After hearing about the use of life insurance for wealth replacement, they decide to give $100,000 to the church and use a portion of the $48,000 they will realize in tax savings from their donation to purchase a “second-to-die” life insurance policy to add $100,000 to their estate when the surviving spouse dies. Both the church and their children will benefit from their generosity and foresight.

Special note: the above example assumes a 48% tax credit. Tax credits vary from province to province.

Meet One of the PCC’s Visionary Givers

Bob Shaw is a member of St. John’s Church, Milliken, in Toronto, where he has served as an elder since 1960. He had already included his local congregation along with his children as beneficiaries in his will, but he also wanted to leave something for the work of the national church. “While serving on the Life and Mission Agency Committee, I became aware of the valuable work being done by the national church,” Bob said. “I wanted to give something to support that work after I die.” After consulting with his financial advisor, Bob decided that a gift of life insurance would enable him to leave a larger legacy than would otherwise be the case.

Bob has designated his gift for Presbyterians Sharing. “I didn’t want to be more specific than that, because I know that circumstances and needs change, and I want the gift to be used wherever it is most needed and can do the most good.” By making The Presbyterian Church in Canada the owner and beneficiary of the policy, Bob will receive a donation tax receipt for every dollar he pays in annual premiums.


Planned Giving Guide booklet

Bulletin-sized Booklet: Guide to Planned Giving

Explore different ways to support ministry with this easy-to-read guide outlining the different ways of making a planned gift and their tax advantages.

Order inserts for your congregation

Leaving a Legacy to Your Church: Talking about Bequests

Are your church members mortal? Yes! Is your church pretending that they’re not? Probably! Would receiving a bequest
benefit your church? Yes! Does your church need help broaching this topic? This webinar will provide practical tools for talking specifically about bequests in your congregation.

For More Information
The Stewardship and Planned Giving staff are available to help you turn your philanthropic wishes into reality.
To learn how a Charitable Gift Annuity or other planned gift can leave a lasting legacy, please contact us

  • by email

  • or call the Stewardship & Planned Giving department, 1-800-619-7301.

  • or mail to: The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7.

Charitable Registration No. 10785 6619 RR0001

The information on this page does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be substituted for appropriate professional advice. The Presbyterian Church in Canada strongly recommends that you seek professional legal and financial advice to ensure your financial situation and those of your dependents are considered; that your tax situation is reviewed; and that your legacy gift is tailored to your circumstances.