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[WILLFUL?] 50% of Canadians don’t have a will

Half of Canadians say they don't have a last will and testament, including one-in-five ages 55+, according to new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute. As expected, younger Canadians are less likely to have one, with four-in-five younger than 35 saying they do not have a will -- but even half of those between the ages of 45 and 54 say the same.

Half (49%) of Canadians ages 55 to 64 say they have an up-to-date will. That proportion rises to seven-in-ten (71%) of those ages 65 and older, though that still leaves close to 30% without one.

The top selected reason survey respondents gave for not having a will  is that they feel they are too young to need one. One quarter (24%) say this, including half (50%) of those ages 18- to 34-years-old.

For Canadians over the age of 54 who do not have a will, the most selected reason is that it's too expensive to get a will written (26%), according to the poll. But Angus Reid points out that there are many free or lower cost services to create simple wills online, though those with more complicated situations may still require the services of a lawyer. Ten percent of those over the age of 34 without a will say they don't want to think about the inevitability of death.

Age is not the only factor in play when it comes to which Canadians do not have a will. Those living in lower income households are less likely to say they have taken this step and a lack of assets to worry about is a common reason. Those whose household incomes are below $100,000 are twice as likely as those above that mark to say they simply lack the assets that would push them to write a will.

To read the full report, and to access tables, methodology, and results by age, gender, region and other demographics, click here

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