What is Your Legacy?

As time passes, so do life stages. You’ve probably forged a career, found a partner, settled down, bought a house and embraced parenthood. Then came the empty-nest years, your children’s marriages, grandparenthood and perhaps retirement.

Fountain Pen Lying on the “Living Trust and Estate Planning” – Close Up

Passage of time and arrival of new generations inevitably lead to the next stage: Consideration of your life and legacy. How do you want to leave your mark on this world? What difference do you want to make that will be felt after you are gone? You’re not the only one with such thoughts.

A recent survey from Arbor Memorial takes a look at how Canadians’ perception of death and legacy are shifting. As a synopsis of the findings reveals, the Arbor Memorial Legacy Council was formed in 2023 to examine “the changing ways Canadians memorialize and grieve.” The results are worthy of note:
• “Most Canadians (78 per cent) agree that marking the passing of a loved one through a

service, memorialization event or celebration of life aids in the grieving process.

  • More than half (52 per cent) say it is important to them that they made a change to or

impact on the world that will carry forward long after their death.

  • Nearly six in 10 Canadians (59 per cent) said the most important legacy indicator is

family, followed by friends (41 per cent).” Success is listed at 12 per cent, followed by wealth at just eight per cent.

There’s more.

  • “92 per cent of Canadians acknowledge the importance of sharing end-of-life wishes, but

only 43 per cent have made end-of-life arrangements or communicated their wishes.

  • 91 per cent of Canadians acknowledge the inevitability of death and believe that

pre-planning arrangements can alleviate the burden on their loved ones during

mourning, but only 50 per cent of Canadians have made plans with respect to their own death.

  • Of those who haven’t, 21 per cent say they don’t like to think about it; another 21 per cent say

it’s too soon for them to be thinking of it.

  • More than a third of Canadians believe they can wait to start planning for their death until

they’re at least 55.”

In terms of demographics:

  • “Women (63 per cent) are more likely than men (55 per cent) to value family as part of

their legacy.

  • When it comes to planning, 42 per cent of men report having plans, compared to 58 per

cent of women who have plans in place.”

What’s not new, though, is the invariable fact that if you want control over how your life is honoured and how your estate is handled—such as making gifts to charities and causes you care about—you can’t put off making a plan. You need to think things through, have an up-to-date legal will, tell people about it and to put it in writing. It’s best to get a lawyer and even better to put it on your priority list, because time does not stop.


Source: Arbor Memorial Legacy Survey Fact Sheet