Young Adults Vulnerable Without Estate Plan

Research is confirming our experience that an astonishing number of younger adults and families are without a will. We look at the distinct estate planning needs of younger generations.

01.01.2017 - Thomas E. Junkin, Senior Vice President, Personal Trust Services and Operations

Young Adults Vulnerable Without Estate Plan

Perhaps it is that natural sense of youthful immortality. Perhaps it is the financial realities that accompany the early days of building one’s net worth. Perhaps it is all the other reasons people use to procrastinate about having basic estate planning documents in place. Regardless of the reasons, 88% of Canadian adults between the ages of 27 and 34 do not have a will.[1] This astonishingly high number emerged as part of a 2012 survey. It is especially disconcerting when you consider the average age of mothers is approximately 30 years.[2] So, a very large proportion of the “no will young adults” actually have at least one dependent child.

We believe every person over the age of 18 should do some basic estate planning. Maybe it is winning a lottery or inheriting a large sum of money that alters life dramatically. Even the healthiest younger person can have a life-changing accident or illness. We know a lot of people can no longer appoint a beneficiary, grant a power of attorney, make a will, or designate someone to make health care decisions on their behalf because they have lost their legal capacity due to a tragic injury. The time to do critical estate planning is while you still can, and before such plans need to be put into action.

Intellectually, most young people realize estate planning becomes essential as soon as another person, usually a spouse or a child, is financially dependent upon them. Marrying, buying a home, or the birth or adoption of a child should (but according to survey results, apparently does not) trigger immediate action.



  1. Mary Warner and Davina Ramnarine, “Survey: More than half of Canadians do not have a signed will,” LawPRO, Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company, May 7, 2012,
  2. “Fertility: Fewer children, older moms,” Statistics Canada, September 28, 2016,


Thomas E. Junkin, Senior Vice President, Personal Trust Services and Operations


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