48% of Canadians have no will: survey

By Staff | March 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 30, 2017
2 min read

Warren Buffett famously noted that, when it comes to inheritances, the perfect amount to leave children is enough so that they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing.

Sounds like a plan for success. The only problem is, many Canadians don’t have a plan at all.

A BMO report on estate planning finds that 48% of survey respondents don’t yet have wills. For those aged 35 to 54, that figure jumps to 55%.

And, with family dynamics becoming more complex with multiple marriages and children, the lack of a will is sure to create problems. In fact, problems often arise even when a will is in place.

Read: How to tackle 3 wealth-transfer challenges

For example, almost 60% of those surveyed indicate they have received an inheritance, but nearly half feel the distribution of their parents’ estates wasn’t fair. And the survey found that leaving a fair amount to each beneficiary was important to many respondents’ parents.

Better communication could have been a preventative measure, but 40% of respondents said their parents hadn’t discussed estate intentions with them.

The Oracle of Omaha addresses the problem with this wisdom, offered at the Berkshire Hathaway annual general meeting in 2013, and cited in the BMO report: “Your children are going to read [your] will someday. […] It’s crazy for them to read it, after you’re dead, for the first time. You’re not in a position to answer questions.”

Read the full BMO report here.

About the survey: The BMO Wealth Management survey was conducted by ValidateIt Technologies Inc. between December 7 and December 17, 2016. The online sample size was 1,003 Canadian respondents age 18 and over. The survey has a confidence interval of +/-3.02% at the 95% confidence level.

Also read:

Get your HNW client out of legacy limbo

Liberals reviewing private corporations, high-income tax strategies

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.