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Interview with Sheila Jarvis, regional vice-president at National Bank Private Banking 1859 in Toronto

The social and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many wealthy Canadians to think more about leaving a legacy not just to their families, but also to their communities through charitable giving.

“Philanthropy has become even more important to a lot of people during the crisis and many organizations need donations now more than ever before,” says Sheila Jarvis, regional vice-president for Ontario for Private Banking 1859, a division of National Bank that helps affluent Canadians maximize their wealth for the long term and create a legacy.

The decision to donate to a charity is often inspired by a personal event such as a family member being diagnosed with a serious illness, or a wider community crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The philanthropist will often give money to a charitable organization seeking a cure or a group supporting those affected,” Ms. Jarvis says. “They start reflecting on their lives and think, ‘what have I done and what do I want to leave as a legacy?’”

Setting up a legacy

For some, it can be a challenge to find the right organization to support, especially given the growing number of charities devoted to different causes.

Ms. Jarvis encourages her clients to consider choosing charities that align with their values, beliefs and goals. She also reminds clients the giving can be done both during their lifetime and in their estate.

“It’s a very personal and emotional conversation,” she says. “You have to dig a bit deeper to find out what clients want to accomplish.”

Once a client knows where they want to give, Ms. Jarvis and her team go over the different donation structures: They can give cash or other assets to a charity or foundation, or set up their own charitable organization.

One option is setting up a donor-advised fund, where the client sets aside the assets and an outside group handles all the administration, leaving the family the more enjoyable part of deciding where it will go.

Private Banking 1859 recently began offering donor-advised fund services through the Philantra Foundation. With a minimal investment amount, the Philantra Foundation experts help clients properly plan their giving, even calculating their philanthropic potential during their lifetime and in their estate.

“You decide the amount you want to give and we do the rest,” she says of the foundation’s work.

Starting legacy planning early

When it comes to leaving a legacy, Ms. Jarvis recommends the planning start sooner rather than later and be done in line with a client’s broader wealth management plan.

The legacy planning should also be updated as the client’s life circumstances change, including potentially increasing the amount they want to give and different charities.

The philanthropy goals should also align with the client’s wishes for the legacy they want to leave for the next generation. Some may even choose to have their children carry on the philanthropic giving on the family’s behalf.

“It begins with having an open and honest conversation about the legacy you want to leave for both your loved ones and your community,” Ms. Jarvis says.

Learn more about National Bank Private Banking 1859

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.