Website helps Anglicans write wills, leave gifts

Progressively bigger stacks of coins grow plant shoots.
 on January 30, 2024

The Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation is making it easier for people to do their wills – and to leave a planned gift to their church or a cherished ministry.

The foundation, a registered charity of the Diocese of Toronto, has teamed up with Willfora, a website that allows people to write their wills online for free.

Willfora is a not-for-profit website that is financially supported by Canadian charities such as March of Dimes Canada, the World Wildlife Federation and Sinai Health Foundation. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of having a will and the impact that a planned gift – even a small one – can have on a charitable cause.

Mary Lynne Stewart, executive director of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation, says Willfora is secure and easy to use. All information entered on the site is protected by encryption, and data and contact information is never sold. Individuals can print off a copy of their will and share it with their lawyer, executor or others if they choose.

“For so many people, doing a will is intimidating, and they feel it’s costly,” says Ms. Stewart. “With Willfora, they can create a will at their own pace, online, for free. And Willfora is a trusted service, supported and used by some of the largest charities in Canada.”

A link to Willfora is on the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation’s webpage,

Ms. Stewart says encouraging Anglicans to write their will is part of an effort by the foundation to raise awareness of planned giving in parishes. “The foundation is taking a step forward and saying, ‘Let us be your partner and help you get a planned giving program going in your parish or get your parishioners talking about it. Let us help you have that conversation and make it a simple one.’”

Planned gifts can have a significant impact, she says. Churches that have received planned gifts have used them to hire new ministry staff, support an outreach project or make improvements to their buildings. Gifts that were given to the diocese in the 1960s are still bearing fruit, helping to fund FaithWorks and other initiatives.

“It’s about leaving a legacy and providing support to a ministry you’re passionate about,” she says. “We want to encourage those conversations, so that 30 years from now there’s a planned gift that will help carry on the work of your church or the diocese.”

The foundation will be hosting planned giving seminars for parishes in 2024. It is also developing a toolkit for parishes, to help them get started on planned giving. Ms. Stewart hopes the diocese will create a Planned Giving Sunday someday, similar to its annual FaithWorks Sunday.

“I’m very excited,” she says. “Talking about leaving a planned gift can be a life-changing conversation for people. It can make a tremendous difference.”


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