Every 5 years, the federal government commissions a survey to update data on financial matters, fiscal concerns, and spending habits of the public. That survey seeks out respondents from varying social arrangements, economic status and age groups regarding participants' financial strata and individual experiences.
The report highlights the most recent results from the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) as follows. I found it had many curious responses from those surveyed listed in its report.
One topic chronicled was the views and tendencies when dealing with Estate Planning. It noted testators’ and donors’ expectations and preparedness in this regard and their frequency of reviewing their documentation. From the report, in terms of estate planning documentation, about half of Canadians yielding approximately 55%, have created a Last Will & Testament and 40% have Powers of Attorney drawn up. However, for Canadians under age 35, the challenge seems to be more around creating an estate plan in the first place. Since only 22% have a Will and only 9% have drawn up Powers of Attorney documents. I found this to be concerning.
The majority of Canadians aged 65 and older did have completed Wills, approximately 95% based on this survey participants, and a significant percentage have designated Powers of Attorney in the 68% range. Unfortunately, more than half have not updated their Wills in the last 5 years. That number was sitting at 53%.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of Canadians aged 65 and older did have completed Wills, approximately 95% based on this survey participants, and a significant percentage have designated Powers of Attorney in the 68% range. Unfortunately, more than half have not updated their Wills in the last 5 years. That number was sitting at 53%. Nor had they reviewed or updated their Powers of Attorney which sat at a woeful rate of 57% over that same period. This too is a significant concern because some may have a functional Will, Power of Attorney or a Health Directive that no longer reflects their current wishes.
Addressing these matters as an important financial errand is especially necessary for those who have children, other financial dependents, or business partners that could complicate or derail an Estate plan. For all Canadians 18 and older, the big challenge may be ensuring that their estate plan exists and is fully up to date.
At minimum, the individual testator/donor client should ask themselves, these questions:
- Is my estate plan supported by relevant statements, supporting documents and directions for the executor to complete distributions?
- Can my preference for the choice of guardianship of minors or other financial dependents be supported before the courts?
- Are there sufficient funds available which are quick to access by the executor so they can afford to perform their fiduciary responsibilities?
- How might I limit the negative effect of probate costs, provincial public filings, and legal inefficiencies?
- How will my Estate plan be readily available to the named executors or appointed trustees in a secure manner, when the time comes?
We at Plan My Estate help all clients of all ages 18 and up. We encourage our clients to address their most critical estate needs and concerns with our help. We do so by supporting clients as individuals, as families and as business owners with meaningful conversation and improve the direction for current or future estate documentation.
It is key that clients review these documents regularly, in an organized way, with the perspective of how those instructions may be interpreted by your executors, trustees, and beneficiaries. Any material changes that are deemed necessary to the client’s wants, needs or the overall benefit of their estate are noted and facilitated directly or through a supportive network of outside professionals. It's often shown that these improvements can be made within a few visits, either online or in person, at a very reasonable cost and custom-made to fit the budget of each client.
Let's see if we as Canadians can improve the upcoming 2024 surveyed numbers. We at Plan My Estate are here to help you!