Online wills are legal documents that serve the same function and have the same authority as a traditional will prepared by a lawyer.
An online will is created without the help of a legal practitioner but by an online platform that provides clear guidance on the process. Wills are important, especially to people with assets they wish to pass on to their loved ones after death.
Creating a traditional will can be intimidating and costly, but online wills are simpler, have a more streamlined process, and can be done from the convenience of your home.
Learn about the best online will kits in Canada and how to create a will online, along with the pros and cons of online will platforms.
What is an Online Will Platform?
A will is a legal document specifying how you want your assets to be shared after death. A lawyer usually prepares this document, but you can now create one with an online will platform.
An online will platform is a website or mobile application that allows adults to create a will online at a significantly lower cost than traditional means. These platforms allow users to write, print and sign their will themselves.
They will be able to update it as circumstances in their life change. Each platform has a specific time frame throughout which they leave the document open for edits.
There are many of these online will platforms available to the Canadian public. Most of them require you to provide a list of your assets, the name of the guardian to take care of your underage children, and that of the executor of your will.
Best Online Will Platforms
It isn’t easy to name one platform as the best online will maker, so if you want to create your will yourself, here are five platforms to consider:
LegalWills is the best online will platform in Canada. This will service helps you write your will using a lawyer-approved template customized for your province.
Their website can be accessed anytime from anywhere, and they give clear instructions to users so they don’t make mistakes.
They also allow unlimited updates to wills created through their platform for a year.
Their online will service costs $39.95 to create one will. LegalWills have other optional features that cost money. For example, if you want a lawyer review, you pay an extra $69.
When you use the promo code SAVVY20, you get a 20% discount on the fees.
Here’s a detailed LegalWills review.
On Willful (15% discount), you can create an online will in 20 minutes and pay as low as $99 for a basic individual will plan and $189 for a premium individual will package. Once you pay and create your will, you can update it as often as you like at no extra cost.
There are more expensive packages with extra features like the ability to establish power of attorney, record your burial wishes, add more people to your online will plan, and more.
3. Epilogue Wills
You can create a will in just 20 minutes using Epilogue Wills (use SAVVY20 code for a 20% discount). You will be asked some questions, after which the platform will auto-generate your will.
Their pricing starts from $139 for individuals and $229 for couples. To access the extra features, you have to pay more.
This online will platform provides clear instructions when filling in the relevant information.
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They don’t need you to list your assets, submit your bank account information, or declare how much money you have. Also, you are allowed unlimited updates to your will.
Here’s a detailed Epilogue Wills review.
FormalWill offers many estate planning services, including last wills, living wills, tax planning, pet planning, retirement planning, power of attorney, and life insurance. Their online will package costs $59 and requires you to answer a questionnaire to create it.
Once you complete the questionnaire and pay, the platform will send your will to your email. You can also download it from your account on their website.
You can add a living will and power of attorney for $39 each and a pet will for $59. You can also request a lawyer review for $249.
5. Canada Wills
This is a good free online will maker in Canada, and it has been active for over 20 years. You will not be required to input your credit card details before or after creating your will. However, if you wish, you can leave a “gift” (or monetary donation) on their website.
Canada Wills offers living wills, last wills, and funeral planning kits. They let you include your digital assets and guardianship of your children and pets in your will.
You can save and download your will as a PDF document or receive it through the mail.
Related: Read our PolicyMe review to save on life insurance costs.
|S/N||Online Will Platform||Best Features|
|1||LegalWills||The $39.95 price tag means their online will service is the most affordable on this list.|
|2||Willful||Creating an online will on this platform only takes 20 minutes.|
|3||Epilogue Wills||Although their online wills are the most pricey on this list, they can also be created in 20 minutes. With an increased fee, you can also choose someone to handle your affairs if you become incapable.|
|4||Canada Wills||Their online service is free.|
|5||FormalWill||This platform offers a variety of estate planning services.|
What are the Benefits of Online Will Platforms?
Traditional will have always reigned supreme, but here are some benefits of using online will platforms.
An online will platform allows you to create and update your will without leaving home.
There are several reputable online will platforms you can access from your computer. To get a traditional will, you need to find a lawyer.
Using an online will platform is substantially less expensive than hiring a lawyer.
Downsides of Online Will Kits
As great as an online will kit is, it has its downsides. Here are some of them:
1. No legal assistance
Since no lawyer will be involved in the process, you might make mistakes that won’t be discovered until it is too late.
Experienced estate lawyers working on a traditional will know the right questions to ask their clients and will ensure that no stone is left unturned, regardless of how complex their estate is.
With an online will, you will miss all that legal expertise and advice.
2. It may be void
Depending on the platform you use or the laws in your province, the online will you create for yourself might be invalid.
Without legal support, which online wills don’t come with, you won’t know if the will you have written is invalid.
How to Make a Will Online for Free
To make a will online for free in Canada, follow these steps:
Choose an Online Will Platform
Research the platforms you can use to make an online will in Canada and pick a credible one that is free to use.
List All Your Assets
Make a list of all your assets on paper, so you will know exactly what you own. Go through that list and decide what you want to pass on to the people you will be survived by. List those assets in the online will platform.
The court will decide the legal owner of any of your assets not listed in your will upon your passing. So do not leave any stone unturned.
Be Specific in Your Will Declarations
To ensure your assets will be distributed as intended, ensure the language in your will is precise, the instructions are clear, and you include the names of all your beneficiaries.
Upon your passing, your family will be grieving, so it is best if everyone knows exactly what they are entitled to, and there is no room for wrong interpretation.
Name a Guardian for Your Underage Children
Appoint a legal guardian to cater to your children if you and your spouse pass away prematurely.
It would be best if you named an alternate guardian in case you live longer than the first one you chose and did not update your will to reflect that before you pass away.
Pick an Executor
An executor will distribute your assets per the instructions in your will. They will also pay off all your outstanding debts and deal with probate.
Choose a Residual Beneficiary
A residual beneficiary is a person, group, charity, or organization that will receive your remaining assets after the rest have been distributed per your will. Remember to name your residual beneficiary, if necessary.
Make Your Funeral Plans
You might have the opportunity to state your funeral preferences on an online will. Specify whether you want to be buried or cremated and where you should be laid to rest.
Append Your Signature to the Will
Although you made your will online, you still have to print a physical copy and put your signature on it.
You also need two witnesses older than 18 to sign it. Your witnesses and their spouse cannot be your executor or a beneficiary named in your will.
Keep Your Will in a Safe Place
Keep the physical copy of your will somewhere safe. This could be a bank, safe, or with a trusted person. Ensure that the executor can reach it when the right time comes.
Are online wills legal in Ontario?
Creating an online will is legal in Ontario, provided it meets all the criteria for a legal will in the province.
Are do-it-yourself wills legal in Canada?
Yes, DIY wills are legal in Canada. The legality is not in the fact that it is DIY; it is in the signature and witness requirements. Ensure you and the eligible witnesses append your signatures to the document.
What is the average cost of a will in Canada?
For an individual, a will for a simple estate costs $400, while a complex one costs between $800-$1100 on average.
Is money from a will taxable in Canada?
There is no inheritance tax in Canada. You do not need to report the money you inherit as income.
What are the benefits of online platforms that make wills?
They make creating wills more affordable, convenient, and accessible than traditional means.