Estate planning toolkit

Are Canadians prepared when it comes to estate planning? The statistics say many are not. Here’s why it matters and how to help.

Understanding the landscape

When is the right time for me to prepare my will?

Do I need a lawyer, a financial advisor, or both?

Is there a quick and efficient way to transfer my wealth to my heirs?

How often do I need to review my estate plan?

Our latest research suggests most Canadians are confused by most aspects of estate planning, and these are just some of the questions your clients are actively seeking out answers to. If you’re not equipped to answer them, you should be.

Our survey highlights how the pandemic has changed estate planning conversations and expectations — and reveals Canadian attitudes toward estate planning in general. Here are some of the highlights from that survey.

  • $1 trillion+

    is expected to move between generations in Canada from 2020 to 20301

  • 46%

    of Canadians do not have any of the following: a financial advisor; a written financial plan; a formal estate plan. The number who report having all three is only 13%.2

  • 58%

    of Canadians are not discussing inheritance with their heirs3

  • 1 in 5

    As many as 1 in 5 Canadians say the pandemic has impacted their approach to estate planning

1 Investor Economics Household Balance Sheet Report—Canada, 2021

2 Manulife State of Estate Planning Survey, 2021.

3 Wealthy Canadians not discussing inheritance with heirs, Advisor’s Edge, 2018

With Canadians  expected to bequest and inherit $1 trillion+ of wealth over the next decade – a massive transfer of wealth that requires planning and guidance –you’re in a unique position to:

  • help your clients understand what’s at stake,
  • find the resources they need to talk about estate planning strategies, and
  • recommend investment solutions – like segregated fund contracts -- that can help smooth the way.

We’re here to help you, and your clients, prepare.

Get in touch to learn more:

Advisors, book a meeting with a member of the Manulife Investment Management sales team to discuss wealth transfer challenges and solutions.

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Estate planning advantages of segregated fund solutions

Few investment solutions help minimize the trials and tribulations of estate planning the way a segregated fund contract can.


Settling an estate can be lengthy, frequently taking months or even years, if the will is challenged. With a named beneficiary other than the estate, death benefit proceeds of a segregated fund contract can pass directly to the beneficiary and avoid delays.


Legal, estate administration, and probate4 erode the value of an estate, diminishing the amount of money beneficiaries receive. The proceeds of a segregated fund contract can bypass these fees.


Bypassing the estate, and therefore probate where applicable, can preserve confidentiality as probate is a matter of public record. Payments made to named beneficiaries of an insurance contract don’t flow through the estate and are therefore a private matter.5


Use the annuity settlement option to automatically transfer segregated fund proceeds at the time of death into an annuity. Replace a lump-sum benefit with smaller, scheduled payments while savings of legal, estate administration and probate fees, increased privacy, and potential creditor protection.


Having the death benefit proceeds bypass the estate offers potential protection from estate creditors and will challenges.

Strategies to use with clients

Use the estate cost comparison calculator to generate a customized report that can be shared with clients, and choose from our library of sharable articles and videos

Advisor education and resources

Insurance Investments: the facts

A comprehensive overview of setting up segregated fund contracts and GIAs issued by Manulife. In addition, other estate and legal items related to insurance contracts is covered, including beneficiary designations, creditor protection, probate, trusts and corporate ownership.
Read more

Boost your expertise, earn CE credits

The Manulife CE centre offers resources advisors can use to gain insights around helping clients make better estate planning decisions (and earn CE credits at the same time).

  • Manulife presents: Estate planning
  • Estate planning beyond the will

To access, visit Advisor Portal > Click Sign In > Advisor Portal > Training > CE Centre > Course catalogue

Fundata Awards

Manulife Investment Management was among the top honourees from Fundata Canada, and the leader in terms of segregated fund awards for 2021.

4 Probate does not apply in Quebec.

5 In Saskatchewan, assets are identified on the application for probate despite the fact that they do not flow through the estate and are not subject to probate fees.