Almost half of Canadians have not prepared a Will, according to a report released by BMO Financial Group March 27.
The report, Estate planning for complex family dynamics, found 48 per cent of Canadians do not have a Will and 40 per cent have not discussed their estate intentions with their heirs.
"An up-to-date Will is the cornerstone of any estate plan. However, considering the diversity of family structures in Canada, family dynamics are influential on estate planning issues such as inheritances, communication and care needs as one ages," says Chris Buttigieg, Director, Wealth Institute, BMO Wealth Management. "Starting the conversation now and planning can help reduce some of the difficult, emotional and financial implications of administering your estate in the future."
Consult with a legal professional
BMO suggests that Canadians who lack a Will consult with a legal professional to help determine who would best fill important roles, such as the estate executor, trustee, the guardian to minor children and Power of Attorney. A legal professional can also help with estate planning goals such as the use of trusts, estate freezes, corporate restructuring, holding companies, beneficiary designations, joint tenancies and gifting.
Review your Will
For those who do have a Will, it is also important to review it, advises BMO. “Ensure that your Will is up to date and reflects your current family situation. Reasons to review your Will include marital status changes, the birth of children or grandchildren, the purchase of life insurance, the receipt of an inheritance and health changes.”
Consider life insurance
BMO also suggests that Canadians consider life insurance as part of their plan if their estate contains embedded tax liabilities. To learn more, view the full report.