IG Wealth Management Estate Planning Study: Despite Aging Population, Most Canadians Lack Estate Plan

  • Only one-quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians have an estate plan
  • One-third (33 per cent) do not update their will when experiencing a major life change
  • Just one-quarter (24 per cent) have a plan for financial expenses should they be impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia 

WINNIPEG, MB – May 15, 2023 – According to IG Wealth Management’s (IG) estate planning study, only one-quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians have an estate plan to outline their financial wishes and asset distribution in the event of death or cognitive decline. This despite the fact that our aging population is growing – by 2024, 20 per cent of Canadians will be 65 years and over and that number will continue to rise. This is creating a sense of urgency for Canadians to incorporate a well-thought-out estate component into their overall financial plans.

The study, conducted in partnership with Pollara Strategic Insights, found that:

  • One-third (33 per cent) do not update their will after experiencing a major life change, including but not limited to buying a home, having a child, entering a committed relationship or marriage, or experiencing a significant health change.
  • Just one-quarter (24 per cent) have a plan for financial expenses should they be impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • Just one-fifth (21 per cent) have had detailed discussions with the beneficiaries of their estate or executors of their will.

“It was surprising to learn how few Canadians have an estate plan in place and appreciate the critical role it can play as one ages,” said Christine Van Cauwenberghe, Head of Financial Planning at IG Wealth Management.

Ms. Van Cauwenberghe noted that an effective estate plan is multi-pronged, encompassing a will, power of attorney, and health care directives. “For the majority who have not established clear directives, they’re leaving the distribution of their wealth in the hands of provincial law and probate courts. In my experience, there are several estate planning myths circulating among Canadians, so speaking with a qualified financial advisor to create a customized estate plan is critical to help ensure a strategic and tax-efficient transfer of assets in the way they were intended.”

An Estate Plan Must Factor in Cognitive Decline

One of the biggest gaps in an estate plan is not factoring in the possibility of cognitive decline as one ages.

“Many underestimate the costs associated with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia; it can be financially crippling for those directly impacted, as well as their families and caregivers,” reinforced Ms. Van Cauwenberghe. “Given Canada’s aging population and the widespread nature of this condition, it’s important to account for the possibility of some form of cognitive impairment within your estate plan to help reduce financial risk – and hardship.”

The study found:

  • Only one-third (34 per cent) have a plan for their assets if they are unable to make financial decisions.
  • Just one-third (37 per cent) work with an advisor to help support their financial plans.

“Canadians need to work with an experienced and qualified financial advisor to understand how an unplanned cognitive illness, like Alzheimer’s, can impact their estate plan. Financial planners take the guesswork out of longevity by first accounting for every scenario and then building a holistic plan that sets their clients up for financial security,” concluded Ms. Van Cauwenberghe.

About the Pollara Study

This study was conducted with an online sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18 years or above was conducted between April 12th, 2023 and April 18th, 2023.  Results of the study were weighted by region and gender to be representative of the population as a whole.  The margin of error on a probability sample of this size would be +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About IG Wealth Management

Founded in 1926, IG Wealth Management is a national leader in delivering personalized financial solutions to Canadians through a network of advisors located across Canada. IG Wealth Management has $117.3 billion in assets under advisement as of April 30, 2023, and is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial, together with its subsidiaries, is one of Canada's leading diversified wealth and asset management companies with approximately $263.0 billion in total assets under management and advisement as of April 30, 2023. 

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