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'Everyone should have a will': Survey finds half of Canadians are without a will

A person signs a document in this undated stock image. (Credit: Shutterstock) A person signs a document in this undated stock image. (Credit: Shutterstock)

A Winnipeg lawyer says Canadians should look at getting a last will and testament if they don't have one. This after a new survey showed half of Canadians do not have a will in place.

Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2 Angus Reid Institute surveyed 1,610 Canadian adults and found half don't have a will set up, including one in five who are 55 and older.

"I think it's an uncomfortable topic for people to engage with and they put it off. I think that's normal," said Troy Harwood-Jones, the vice president and partner at PKF Lawyers. "It is a matter that people should get around to so that they can care for not only themselves and their assets, but also their families."

The survey found four-in-five Canadians under the age of 35 don't have a will. The numbers don't get much higher over the age of 35 either.

Angus Reid said 69 per cent of people between the ages of 35 to 44 don't have one, followed by 49 per cent of Canadians between 45 and 54.

Even 34 per cent of people between 55 and 64 don't have a will set up.

Harwood-Jones said there is never a wrong time to get a will, but first, he recommends getting a good lawyer to set it up, adding this isn't something people should try to do by themselves.

"People should understand that they don't just do one will in their life. My recommendation to my clients is that they pull out their will and they take a look at it whenever there's a significant development in their life, or every five years, whichever comes first."

He said any change in life, from getting married to relocating for work, should lead to people pulling out their will and making sure it has everything they need to be covered.

"As you get older and through your life, your intentions and your wishes are going to change."

Besides feeling they are too young to need a will, another reason the survey found people haven't set one up yet, is they feel they don't have the assets to worry about.

One in six Canadians said they don't have assets worth worrying about and households that have an income of less than $100,000 are twice as likely to use this reasoning compared to those with an income over $100,000.

Harwood-Jones said how much money someone has shouldn't impact if they have a will or not.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, whether or not you should have a will. Everyone should have a will."

Angus Reid's survey had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Top Stories

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