Lack of an estate plan can cause family strife

Residents of Canada are being urged to move beyond traditional estate planning, which typically focuses on estate administration, tax considerations and having the proper legal documents in place, and instead to consider enhanced estate planning to address the emotional impact on those left behind and alleviate family strife.

According to a new report from the BMO Wealth Institute, a key element of enhanced estate planning involves having conversations about the future early on with family. More than half (54%) of Canadians believe that the potential for conflict among family members after the death of a loved one is one of the most serious drawback of not having these early and on-going estate planning conversations.

Other issues identified with putting off having such discussions include:

  • Unpleasant surprises after death of a loved one (42%)
  • Legal complications (37%)
  • Financial/taxation issues (33%)
  • Administrative complications (22%)

“The death of a loved one can be stressful for all concerned, and the anxiety can be exacerbated by a lack of understanding of the deceased’s wishes regarding financial and personal assets,” said Dr. Amy D’Aprix, Life Transition Expert with BMO Financial Group. “Hurt feelings and damaged family relationships can be avoided by having the necessary estate conversations with family members and other intended beneficiaries while you’re alive and well.”

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