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Canadians Place High Value On Leaving A Legacy, Financial Planning - New Study

Harriet Davies

18 October 2012

Canadians place a high value on leaving a legacy and planning financially for the future of their families, according to a new study.

The study, commissioned by BMO Harris Private Banking, found that over half of Canadians have a will. In terms of the wishes expressed in these wills, 60 per cent of assets overall are designated to children, 25 per cent to other family members, and 3 per cent to friends and charities respectively.

"It's clear that Canadians are looking beyond having enough funds for their lifetime," said Sara Plant, vice president and national director, BMO Harris Private Banking.

Among parents who are planning to leave their assets to their children, more than two-thirds said these would be held in trust until the children reach a certain age – with many placing that age between 22 and 30. Over half of parents leaving assets to children intend their children to receive their inheritance in one lump sum.

The study revealed there are some conversations between parents and children taking place about wills: nearly one-third of children know they are included in their parents’ will but do not know exactly what they will receive. On the other hand, 17 per cent had no idea whether they were in the will or not.

Plant said that Canadians needed to “do a better job” of talking about estate planning as it is “essential to communicate your wishes to your family.”

As well as communication, BMO Harris said another key part of estate planning was to review such plans regularly, such as every time taxes are filed.

The survey was conducted by Pollara between September 18 and September 24, 2012, with a sample of 1,004 Canadians adults.