Most Canadian parents say making a will is important, less than half have done so

Leaving a legacy can be a complex matter but having a documented plan makes it simpler

Most Canadian parents say making a will is important, less than half have done so
Steve Randall

The old adage that you can’t take your wealth with you when you die is certainly true, but it’s also fair to say that leaving it behind can create a whole heap of hassle for loved ones.

November is Make A Will Month and, as you might expect, 97% of Canadian parents of minor-age children told a recent survey that it’s important to create a will. However, just 46% actually have one themselves.

The research from Willful and Angus Reid also reveals that nine in ten respondents noted the mindset shift than happens when becoming a parent, with greater focus on end-of-life planning. Almost a third of respondents created a will after having children.

More than half (58%) of parents aged 45+ have created a will, compared to only 37% of parents aged 18-34 and those with a household income higher than $100K are more than twice as likely to have a will (53%), compared to parents with a household income under $50K (21%).

Time, cost, and complexity are among the key barriers to creating a will, according to respondents.

Having a will may still lead to complications if its existence is not shared with loved ones and poll participants said that their experience with their parents has informed how they manage this with their own children.

While 70% of respondents think or know their parents have/had a will, only 56% of their parents spoke to them about their wills and 72% of those said if they had a choice, they wish their parents had done so. Having that conversation should happen when children are teenagers (38% said so) or in their early 20s (26%).

Earlier this year an IG Wealth study found that millions of Canadians do not have an estate plan.

Leaving it too late

A separate report from Arbor Memorial looks at how Canadians are managing their legacies and end-of-life planning, including wealth but also the other elements of the inevitable element of life.

Again, there is high acceptance among respondents that having these conversations is important (92% said so) but less than half (43%) of Canadians have made end-of-life arrangements or communicated their wishes.

And good health, anxiety, or a feeling that it is too soon to be thinking about dying, means that a third of Canadians believe that planning their legacy and end-of-life arrangements can wait until they are at least 55.

Women are more likely than men to have plans in place (58% vs 44%).