All About Estates

A Wealth of Information for Trust & Estate Professionals

Today’s blog was written by Elaine Blades, TEP

Last week I had the pleasure of attending/presenting at STEP Canada’s 18th National Conference.  I was joined by over 700 trust and estate professionals from across Canada.

STEP members come from a variety of professional backgrounds:  law, accounting, insurance, trust industry and financial planning.  The common denominator is expertise, work and ongoing education in the trusts and estates “profession”.

The diversity of membership is reflected in the diversity of plenary and concurrent sessions on offer.   In addition to the ever popular and always highly entertaining STEP Canada/CRA Round Table, the soup to nuts agenda included sessions on:

  • Advising Families with Special Needs
  • Practitioner’s Updates on Insurance, Trust and Estate Law, Tax and US Issues
  • IRS Compliance Options
  • Estate Planning for Diverse Communities

One of the sessions I found most interesting was a panel discussion on the Gender Implications in Intergenerational Wealth Transfer.  The session was moderated by Peggy Gates-Hammond (BMO Private Banking, Halifax), with panellists Kathleen Burns Kingsbury (a Wealth Psychology expert and author from Vermont), Maria Spanakis (Wealth Advisor with 3Macs in Montreal) and Pina Melchionna (EVP Concentra Trust in Saskatoon).

The discussion started with an acknowledgement that the female economy controls the largest emerging pool of wealth.  This results from a combination of wealth creation by females and the double inheritance phenomenon (women inheriting from their parents and from their spouse).  In addition to providing a wealth of data on the topic, the panellists provided a number of practical tips and advice for adapting a practice to better suit and benefit from this demographic shift.

A few of the more interesting statistics (US based but largely applicable in Canada too) provided by Kathleen include:

  • 70% of the what will be the largest wealth transfer in history will pass to women
  • 31% of households’ primary breadwinners are women
  • 2/3 of business started in 2015 were started by women
  • 73% of women are unhappy with the financial services industry
  • 67% of women feel misunderstood by the financial services industry
  • 80% of women fire the couples’ Financial Advisor within one year of the death of the husband

My key takeaway?  Advisors who adapt their practices in ways that acknowledge gender tendencies and differences in the “money mindset” between men and women, will be well positioned to take advantage of the “economic phenomenon” that is upon us.

To learn more about the conference and STEP Canada please visit:

Thanks for reading.

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