Heirs Unaware Of Intentions

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    Over half of Canadians have clearly outlined their intentions for their estates with a will, says a study by BMO Harris Private Banking. It found that of those people who have a will, 60 per cent of the assets are left to their children, 25 per cent to other family members, and three per cent is set aside for charities and friends. While many people have written out their intentions, they have yet to inform their heirs. Only 17 per cent of children realize their parents intend to leave them something, which could be an issue for the family. For a successful wealth transfer, people need to let their heirs know about their intentions, says Sara Plant, vice-president and national director, BMO Harris Private Banking. The 17 per cent of people who are not doing so risk creating problems down the road. “The more [the heirs] know ahead of time of what [the person’s] thoughts are and [their] intentions are, the more they will be ready to receive that when the time comes,” says Plant. “When that 17 per cent doesn’t know what to expect from their family’s estate, that’s where you can meet with unmet expectations and challenging family dynamics and potential litigation.”