Canada is on the brink of a historic wealth transfer, with estimates suggesting that up to $1 trillion could change hands over the next decade. This unprecedented shift will see assets flow from aging parents to their beneficiaries, often their children, reshaping the financial landscape for generations to come.

Real estate, particularly in hot markets like Vancouver and Toronto, is a significant contributor to this wealth transfer. Despite high-interest rates, property values have remained resilient, suggesting continued growth and substantial inheritance potential.

However, while economic factors such as stock market performance can amplify the value of inheritances, there's a stark contrast between Canadians' intentions and actions regarding estate planning. Just 48% of Canadians have a will in place, and only 65% have appointed a power of attorney, according to recent statistics. Even more concerning is that despite 77% of Canadians recognizing the importance of discussing healthcare wishes, just 7% have actually had those conversations with healthcare providers or family members.

The reasons behind this disconnect are varied. Some believe they lack sufficient wealth to warrant an estate plan, while others feel too young or unnecessary due to not having children. Many simply don't know where to start or assume the costs are prohibitive.

Financial literacy is a critical factor in closing the gap between understanding the importance of estate planning and taking action. Education about the true costs and benefits of Wills, powers of attorney, and health directives can demystify the process and motivate individuals to prepare for the future.

Despite the perception that legacy planning is daunting and time-consuming, having a simple document where everything is in one place can help immensely. Estate planning offers undeniable advantages, including tax efficiency, preserving family harmony, and ensuring control over one's financial legacy. It also provides peace of mind, knowing that your affairs are in order and your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.

As Canadians approach this wealth transfer milestone, it's essential for individuals to engage in estate planning proactively. By doing so, they can ensure that their assets are distributed as intended and that their families are supported through what can be a complex and emotional process. With proper planning, the transition of wealth can be a smooth and positive experience.

If you'd like to get started with your estate plan, visit:

Harbourfront Wealth Management was one of Wealth Professional Magazines 5 Star Brokerages for 2022. Wealth Professional is a free online information resource for all Canadian advice and planning professionals. This is not a paid award Harbourfront Wealth Management is not a sponsor.

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