SOURCE: Scotiabank


April 04, 2014 06:30 ET

Power of Attorney for Property Just as Important as a Written Will: Scotiabank Estate Planning Experts

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 04, 2014) -

  • Study finds one third of Canadians have powers of attorney for property
  • Half of Canadians have not spoken to their families about their written wills

A recent Scotiabank study found that half (50%) of Canadians have a will. However, when considering that a complete estate plan also includes a power of attorney*, the study found that only one third (33%) of Canadians have a power of attorney for property, while 59% do not have one and 8% say they don't know what it is.

* Mandate for Incapacity in Quebec.

Additional Facts:

  • Not surprisingly, the appointment of a power of attorney increases with age: 18-34 (15%); 35-44 (18%); 45-54 (28%) and 55+ (58%).
  • It's also no surprise that the percentage of Canadians with a will increases as they get older: 19% for 18-34 year olds; 30% for 35-44 year olds; 50% for 45-54 year olds; and 86% for those 55 and older.
  • Among Canadians who do not have a will (50%) the top reasons include not having enough assets to justify making a will (29%), not knowing where to start (24%) and being too young for a will or don't know (both 23%).
  • Among Canadians with a will and a financial plan, nearly 8 in 10 (77%) had a lawyer or a notary help them create it, while 14% did it themselves and 7% used a financial advisor.
  • Just over half of Canadians (54%) say they have spoken to their family about their intentions for their will.
  • Of those who have not spoken to their family about their will (46%), the top reasons for not doing so are: they haven't thought about it (64%); their will is a private matter (17%); and that it is too soon to speak with them (11%).


"There can be good reasons to talk to your family about your estate plan, as it could reduce the chance of family friction or worse, expensive litigation," says Paul Fensom, Director of Scotiatrust, Estate & Trust Services. "Working with an experienced professional can help you determine which approach is best for you and your family."

"A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf," says Elaine Blades, Director of Scotiatrust, Fiduciary Products & Services. "Should you become incapable of managing your financial affairs, or making decisions about your personal care, and you do not have a power of attorney in place, important decisions about your finances or personal care may go unmade. An estate planning expert can help ensure your plan is comprehensive and includes powers of attorney to address possible future incapacity."

Atlantic Quebec Ontario Man/
Alberta BC
Has a power of attorney for property 33% 30% 33% 35% 32% 35% 26%
Has a will 50% 44% 54% 53% 45% 49% 42%
Have spoken to family about intentions for will 54% 55% 51% 56% 52% 57% 56%

About the polling data
This study was conducted by Nielsen (formerly Harris/Decima) using their online proprietary panel. A total of 1,029 completed surveys were collected from a random sample of panel members across Canada. The study was conducted from November 12, 2013 to November 27, 2013.

About Scotiatrust
Estate and trust services are provided by the Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company (Scotiatrust), a subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia. The professionals at Scotiatrust have helped generations of Canadians plan, preserve and transfer their wealth. Scotiatrust can assist Canadians in developing and implementing a personalized estate plan incorporating professional executor, trustee and attorney for property services.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank is a leading financial services provider in over 55 countries and Canada's most international bank. Through our team of more than 83,000 employees, Scotiabank and its affiliates offer a broad range of products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, corporate and investment banking to over 21 million customers. With assets of $783 billion (as at January 31, 2014), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS). Scotiabank distributes the Bank's media releases using Marketwired. For more information please visit

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