Planned giving to the SAF


In my December column I spoke about ways in which COPA Flights could go about raising money to help the COPA Special Action Fund Inc. (SAF). This month I want to continue that theme and get you thinking about other ways you can help the SAF.

We are being faced with more and more challenges to our freedom to fly in this country and dealing with these challenges is becoming more expensive, like everything else. Whether it’s a case requiring legal opinion or court action, a case requiring some special study or research, or the need for political awareness action, the frequency of need is increasing and the costs are always going up.

In the late 80’s the COPA Board of the day had the foresight to set up and build the SAF through member donations. They stopped at $1million, thinking the fund itself could generate enough income to cover future challenges. At the interest rates of the early 90’s that made sense but at today’s interest rates and with increasing challenges and costs, it just doesn’t balance anymore.

We have to find ways to keep money coming into the SAF in order to prevent the fund from going below $1 million and to maintain the deterrent value of such a fund.

I remember when my son was 16. At that age he was dreaming of having his own car and one day out of the blue he asked me if he could have my truck when I died. I replied that if by some miracle the truck should out live me, it would be his. Fortunately I’ve managed to out live the truck and my son is now well established in a successful career, so his needs are not so pressing.

My other children are also becoming well established so as I approach retirement I am thinking about making some adjustments to my financial plans like my will and my life insurance policies.

If you’ve had a life-long passion for aviation, or perhaps have children that fly, you might feel that you want to give back something to help insure the future of personal aviation in Canada. Supporting the SAF is an excellent way to do that. Here are some ways you can contribute.

Of course the obvious way is to write a cheque and send in a cash donation. This will give the fund an immediate boost, and if you can afford it that’s wonderful. If you don’t have readily available cash but do have strong cash flow you might consider setting up a monthly bank payment to the SAF so that you are giving a little every month, or send a series of post-dated cheques once a year when you renew your membership.

In the longer term, you might consider including the SAF in your will. You can leave a portion of your estate, a specific monitory value, or a specific asset to the SAF. If you leave an asset, upon your death it would be transferred to the SAF and then sold for maximum value which would then go into the fund.

This is an excellent way to arrange for the disposition of your aircraft should your death precede your loss of medical. Willing your aircraft to the SAF will insure it is properly sold for good value and at the same time contributes to the future of personal aviation. The same applies to any valuable asset you might be able to donate, such as part of a valuable collection.

If you have a life insurance policy that you don’t feel your family will need after you die you can change the beneficiary to the SAF. Another good way to donate a large sum of money to the SAF upon your death, without affecting your estate, is to purchase a life insurance policy now with the SAF as a beneficiary or the owner of the policy. You would then pay annual premiums and upon your death the SAF would effectively receive a much larger donation than you would otherwise be able to give.

While this all sounds a bit morbid, today many people are looking for ways to "leave a legacy" to their favorite cause. What better cause is there for pilots than helping to perpetuate our freedom to fly? These are subjects you should discuss with your financial planner or lawyer, and I encourage you to give it some consideration.

Meanwhile, keep you prop spinning.