One of the most important documents of your life will be your will. A will is a legal document that states how you want your estate to be divided upon your death. Your estate includes what you own (or “assets”) and what you owe (or “liabilities”). In Canada, you’re not legally required to prepare a will, but it’s a good idea to have one regardless of your health, marital status, age, or assets. If you die without a will, the provincial or territorial government decides what happens to your assets and dependents, and their choice may not reflect your wishes. With such risks, it’s rather surprising that over half of Canadians don’t have a will. Many Canadians put off this chore – even though it could have potentially disastrous consequences – because they perceive it as too time-consuming and expensive.
Fortunately, online wills in Canada have begun to disrupt the normal process of visiting a lawyer’s office and paying $1,000 to have a will made. Canadian will kits are easy, fast, and affordable – an excellent choice for many Canadians with busy schedules. Learn more about making an online will in Canada and online will kits that are best for you.
Why Make a Will?
Before deciding to go with either an online will kit or a traditional lawyer for your end of life planning, first, you’ll need to determine whether you absolutely need a will or not. Fortunately, there is a single question that, if you answer yes, determines whether you need a will.
Do you have anyone that relies on you financially?
If the answer is yes, then you should have a will. Your will helps direct the flow of your assets to the correct person and makes your wishes for your dependent’s care known.
By this logic, most Canadians should have a will, but not all Canadians have complicated legal needs that require the services of a lawyer. In many cases, an online will making service is more than adequate to establish your final wishes.
Our Top Choice For Making Online Wills in Canada
When it comes to making a will online, Willful is our top choice. The Willful platform provides you with an easy, fast, and affordable way to ensure your final wishes are formalized and respected. Willful is an automated platform that uses a questionnaire to prepare your will, and because you don’t need the help of a lawyer, it is extremely cost-effective.
Willful was founded in 2018 and uses a questionnaire to help write your will. You’ll sign up online and provide basic information like your name, address, and date of birth. After that, the Willful platform will guide you through a series of questions designed to determine your wishes regarding your final resting place, your power of attorney, the disposal of your assets, and even end of life care.
The entire process takes less than an hour. After you’ve paid for your Willful will, you receive your completed documents. These documents must be printed out, signed, and witnessed, and then they constitute a legally binding will. Willful’s services are easy to use and affordable – with wills starting at $99 for individuals and maxing out at $250 for couples.
Are Online Wills Legal in Canada?
Online wills are legal everywhere in Canada except Quebec. But not every company is currently operating in every province. For example, Willful is available in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and British Columbia. If you live outside of these provinces, a Willful will isn’t an option for you. Another will-making service, Legal Wills Canada, is available in every province and territory in Canada except for Quebec.
There is one important caveat to remember: to be a valid will, your documents need to be printed out and signed in front of two witnesses. Signing your will online is not a legally recognized way to validate a will.
Pros and Cons of Online Wills
Using an online will service isn’t perfect, there are several pros and cons to consider.
Pros Fast: Online wills typically take less than an hour to complete, versus two meetings with a lawyer. Cheap: It can cost as much as $1,000 to create a will with a lawyer. The options below range from $0 to $250. Convenient: Complete your will from the comfort of your own home. There is no need to visit a lawyer’s office. Cons Not one size fits all: If you have a complicated legal situation, an online will platform will not be sophisticated enough to work for you. Not available everywhere: Most online will platforms are not available in Quebec, and some are not available in every province. Our Picks of Best Online Will Kits
Here are three of our best picks for online will kits in Canada, and how they compare to each other.
Best Overall: Willful
Our pick for top online will kit in Canada, Willful is a newcomer to the online will space, but it’s already creating a buzz. It’s quickly defined itself as a reputable and extremely user-friendly platform that helps you build your will quickly and efficiently. Their tiered pricing structure means you’ll only pay for the services you need, and the easy to follow questionnaire explains every step of the process. It doesn’t take long either: with Willful, you can complete a legal will online in 20 minutes for as little as $99. At the end of the Willful process, you’ll have the documents you need to execute a straightforward legal will.
Cost: $99 – $250 Availability: Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, British Columbia Services: Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Emergency Representatives & Wishes, Mirrored Wills
Best For Will Customization: Legal Wills Canada
Legal Wills Canada bills itself as Canada’s #1 provider of online wills, power of attorney, and living wills. Legal Wills Canada was founded in 2000 and has an a la carte service that lets you pick and choose which documents you need. Legal Wills Canada is less expensive than Willful, but their website is not as easy to use and can be a bit confusing to navigate. Prices for each service ranges from free to $40, and they provide a full refund if you are not completely satisfied.
Cost: Starting at $19.95 Availability: Every province except Quebec Services: Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Living will, Mirrored Wills
Best Free Will Service: CanadaWills
CanadaWills is a completely free online will kit platform that relies purely on donations. You can complete your legal will online, along with a living will and advance directive. Like most free services, CanadaWills is a bare-bones program with limited customer service (calls to their customer service line were forwarded to voicemail), but at $0, it’s perfect for a price-conscious shopper.
Cost: $0 Availability: Every province except Quebec Services: Last Will and Testament, Living will, Advance Directive
The Verdict: Should You Make an Online Will?
Online will kits are an accessible and affordable option for most Canadians, but not everyone has a legal situation that can be handled by these online platforms. Online will kits are designed for straightforward wills that involve allocating assets, assigning care of dependents, and making arrangements for your final days. If you have a more complicated legal situation (e.g. if you own property in a foreign country), an online will kit may not be sophisticated enough to handle your legal requirements. In this case, you should seek out the services of a lawyer.