Immigrants Fail to Plan for Estates

By Andrew Rickard | July 21 2015 09:02AM

While many immigrants to Canada believe their children will be better off here than in their native country, and most want to leave money in their estates to help them further, less than a third have wills or powers of attorney.

photo_web_1800A survey conducted for BMO Wealth Management shows that 58% of parents who have immigrated to Canada believe their children will be better off here than in their native country. The poll of more than 500 people who moved to Canada in the last ten years revealed that most think it is likely their children will obtain a post-secondary education (93%), get a good job (93%), and buy a home (92%). Asked why they have these expectations (respondents could give more than one answer), 72% said it was because their children would receive a better education in Canada, 61% attributed it to a safer environment, 55% said there were better job opportunities here, and 52% cited good government programs.

The BMO study also looked at whether parents who have immigrated to Canada intend to leave money to their children: 65% said they consider it a priority to leave as much money as possible for their children, 29% said they would like to do so if circumstances permit, and only 4% indicated that it was not important at all. However, this desire to pass on savings to the next generation was not necessarily reflected in their financial plans. The survey showed that 42% of respondents have no legal documents related to estate planning at all, while just 32% have a will and 29% have a power of attorney.

"Our study clearly shows that new Canadians put a premium on leaving a financial legacy for their children," comments Charyl Galpin, head of the BMO Nesbitt Burns division of BMO Wealth Management. "In order to make this a reality and minimize complications, it's critical to have a well-thought-out estate plan in place which includes a will and power of attorney. Even if you feel that the amount you leave to your children will be modest, a will is still essential to ensuring your wishes are carried out correctly with as little stress imposed on your loved ones as possible."