BMO Wealth Management Report: Canadians Ill-Prepared For Estate Planning With Complex Family Dynamics

  • More than half (55 per cent) of Canadians between ages 35-54 do not have a Will
  • 40 per cent of Canadians have not discussed their estate intentions with their heirs
  • Will and estate planning tips for Canadians

 

TORONTO, March 27, 2017 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group today released a study examining Canadians' approach to Will and estate planning. The report – "Estate planning for complex family dynamics" – found that most Canadians have not prepared a Will or have not had detailed conversations about their estate plan with their children.

According to the study, almost half (48 per cent) of Canadians do not have a Will in place, with 55 per cent of those between the ages of 35-54. Although more than a quarter (32 per cent) plan to leave their assets to their spouse and children, 40 per cent of Canadians 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."

BMO offers the following Will and estate planning tips for Canadians:

Consult a legal professional: A legal professional will ensure that your Will and estate plan are up to date so your specific goals are met. A legal professional will work with you to help determine who would best fill important roles, such as your executor, trustee, guardian to your minor children and Power of Attorney. They can also help you meet your estate planning goals by looking at the use of trusts, estate freezes, corporate restructuring, holding companies, beneficiary designations, joint tenancies and gifting.

Choose an executor: Appointing a fair and impartial executor, such as a corporate executor or an agent to assist the family executor, can help bring an objective approach to the responsibilities of estate management and distribution.

Review your Will: 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.

Communicate your charitable intentions: Charitable intentions should be documented and discussed in advance with your executor and your heirs to ensure that they are met.

Tax considerations: Your estate plan should include a focus on taxes to minimize the amount of tax that your estate will be liable to pay. Relevant taxes include income taxes, probate fees and in some cases estate taxes.

Beneficiaries with special needs: Your Will and estate plan can be tailored to help support beneficiaries with special needs, such as incorporating a testamentary trust into your Will and estate plan.

Insurance: Consider life insurance if your estate contains embedded tax liabilities to help deal with liquid assets.

To view a copy of the full report, please visit www.bmo.com/wealthreports

Join us for a discussion on Facebook Live
On April 6, 2017 at 5pm ET, BMO will host a Facebook Live panel discussion about the findings of this report, featuring Dr. Amy D'Aprix, BMO Financial Group's Life Transition Expert, Lydia Potocnik, Vice-President and Regional Director, Trust and Estate Services and Chris Buttigieg, Director, Wealth Institute, BMO Wealth Management. Tune in at Facebook.com/BMOcommunity.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia. Also, get additional timely updates, related articles and insights on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817, and currently marking its 200th year of operations, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $692 billion as of January 31, 2017, and more than 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

Media contacts:
Mark Beazley, Toronto, mark.beazley@bmo.com, 416-867-3996
Valérie Doucet, Montreal, valerie.doucet@bmo.com, 514-877-8224

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media contacts: Mark Beazley, Toronto, mark.beazley@bmo.com, 416-867-3996; Valérie Doucet, Montreal, valerie.doucet@bmo.com, 514-877-8224

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