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How to include charitable giving in your estate plan

Even small donations can make a big local impact, and may not affect beneficiaries
Community foundations are a great option if you want to donate locally, but don’t know where the need is greatest. Alitis Wealth Planning offers other great tips for investors on Vancouver Island.

When it comes to charitable giving, one of the most common myths Alitis Investment Counsel’s Associate Portfolio Manager and Alitis Wealth Planning’s Insurance Advisor Shawn Fetter hears from clients is that it’s only for the wealthy.

“With estate planning, many people worry that donating to charity will take inheritance away from their heirs. In reality, leaving money to charity means that you are adopting another child and disinheriting the taxman,” Fetter says.

This November, Fetter will be participating in a panel on charitable giving, presented by the Campbell River Community Foundation, discussing the various ways that an individual can give back to their community.

“I always ask my clients about their values, and then look for ways to tie those values into their financial plan,” Fetter says. “Take me for example: I’m 42, I have a family, a mortgage and we’re very grateful to have a home on Vancouver Island. When it comes to charitable giving, I think about the North Island Hospital Comox Valley (CVH) that provided tremendous care when my kids were born. I’ve gotten to know many people who’ve relied on CVH and Campbell River Hospital over the years and hear stories of parents who need to travel to Vancouver to get their child(ren) proper care. I could set aside funds in our estate to help pay for new medical equipment that would allow the hospital to provide that care locally. It may just be a small amount and won’t have an impact on our children’s inheritance — but it could have a big impact on the community.”

Community foundations are a great option if you want to donate locally, but don’t know where the need is greatest - just check out their vital stats reports. And while Fetter points out that most people don’t donate for the tax benefits, it’s still true that leaving money to a Canadian registered charity can have significant tax benefits.

“Community foundations have the finger on the pulse of local communities and are aware of programs that we may not even know exist. There are not any tax credits by donating to a non-profit, but if you leave money to the community foundation, they can offer an official donation receipt for tax purposes and then disburse the funds to the areas in your community that have the greatest need.”

How the two sides of Alitis work together to offer clients better options

Charitable giving is just one piece of your financial plan. As Fetter says, finances are complex, and it takes a team to deliver solutions — which is why he loves being a part of the qualified team at Alitis. To ensure regulatory compliance, clients may actually work with two separate arms of the company: Alitis Wealth Planning, regulated by the BC Insurance Council and Alitis Investment Counsel, regulated by the BC Securities Commission.

“We also adhere to privacy laws, so even when a client’s information is being transferred from me at Alitis Wealth Planning to me at Alitis Investment Counsel, we’re sure to get our client’s consent — as nonsensical as it sounds to transfer information from me to me!”

New Comox Valley office opening soon!

Alitis is just weeks away from opening their new office in the Comox Valley, and Fetter is looking forward to getting more face-to-face time with clients, co-workers and other professionals.

“To successfully help people with their finances requires collaboration with lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers, realtors, charitable foundations and more. Having that local office means we’ll have space where we can collaborate!”

Find Alitis Investment Counsel in Campbell River at 101-909 Island Highway, in Victoria at 1480 Fort St., in the Comox Valley at 1103-695 Aspen Rd in Fall 2022, and at For more information, call 250-287-4933 or email

Shawn Fetter, Alitis Investment Counsel Associate Portfolio Manager and Alitis Wealth Planning Insurance Advisor. Fetter is looking forward to working out of the new Alitis Comox Valley office opening this fall!