Financial Literacy

Nearly 80% of millennial parents don't have a will

By: Lisa Coxon on June 20, 2019

Nearly 20% of Canadian parents haven’t created a will, purchased life insurance, or opened a registered education savings plan (RESP) for their kids, according to a study released today by online estate planning company Willful.

Launched in 2017, the Toronto-based company allows people to create customized wills online for less than $250, and update them for free.

Earlier this month, Willful surveyed 653 parents who are online members of the Angus Reid Forum about what financial products they have in place for their children. The parents surveyed were either millennials, Gen Xers, or baby boomers.

Notably, millennial parents were the least likely cohort to have a will. Nearly 80% of them don’t have a will in place, compared with 57% of Gen X parents, and 31% of baby boomer parents.

Willful found that 52% of all parents surveyed don’t have a will at all (for parents with minor children, that number jumps to 65%); 34% of parents don’t have life insurance; and 73% don’t have an RESP.

According to survey results, those who earned a household income of less than $50,000 a year were much less likely to own any of these products, than those households earning over $100,000 a year. Similarly, households bringing in over $100,000 a year were five times more likely to have an RESP compared with those who earn under $50,000.

“It’s crucial for parents to have a solid estate plan in place, since if anything were to happen to them, it outlines who would care for their minor children and how they would receive their inheritance,” said Erin Bury, CEO of Willful, in a press release.

Not having a will in place can make life incredibly difficult for the family of the deceased, especially if there are multiple siblings or other relatives involved. Without a will, “the courts can assign a guardian, and parents don’t have any control over the age at which children receive any inheritance,” according to Willful’s press release.

Of all three products, surveyed parents were most likely to have a life insurance policy in place, at 66%.

Willful currently offers services to residents of Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

The survey found that parents in Manitoba were the most likely to have a will in place (60%), while parents in Saskatchewan were the least likely (48%).

Alberta parents were the most likely to own an RESP (38%), while Quebec parents were the least likely, at only 17%.

However, Quebec parents were the most likely provincial cohort to have a life insurance policy, and B.C. parents the least likely.