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Willful Review Summary:
Willful is an excellent service that cuts not only costs – but also any excuses for procrastinating the creation of your living will and testament!
You might think a will is something that rich people do in movies to pass on their “assets” (hockey card collections?) to their soon-to-be-rich heirs.
You would be wrong.
A will – whether you create it online or the old fashioned way – is something every adult should have. Put it in the same category as brushing your teeth:
It’s not a ton of fun to think about.
Most people don’t know how to do it properly. It’s kind of essential to being a functioning adult.
and there is likely to be a lot of pain if you ignore it long enough
With 57% of Canadian adults not having a will (including 89% of millennials), there is clearly a need for an easy affordable option!
When I tell people about online wills the first question they usually ask is: Is that even legal?
Yes! Online wills are completely legal.
What online wills essentially are, is a Turbo Tax-style platform that guides you through a series of questions about your unique situation, and pulls together customized documents based on your province. If you have trust funds in multiple countries and complex business needs or out-of-country executors, then it’s probably worth it to go talk to a lawyer. For the average person however, an online will is much, much, better than no will at all – and is equally as legal as a will created by a lawyer (who is likely using a template themself).
What makes a will legal in Canada is how it’s signed/witnessed, not who creates it – and there’s no requirement for a lawyer to be involved.
Here’s what is required for your will to be legal:
1) Your signature – in ink!
2) The signatures of two people who act as witnesses to you signing the will. A witness has to be:
a) over the age of majority in your province (18 in Ontario)
b) mentally competent
c) they cannot benefit from the will (if they do and they sign, any gift to them would be invalidated). It CAN be family as long as they don’t benefit from the will.
You need to sign the will in these two witnesses’ presence, and they need to sign the will as well
3) The will must be created by you – you can’t draft a will for someone else
4) You need to be considered as “an adult of sound mind”. Legally, this means you are the age of majority in your province, and have not been declared medically unable to make decisions on your own behalf.
As long as it meets those criteria, your will is good to go. It doesn’t get any more legal if it’s from a fancy lawyer’s office. It certainly doesn’t get more legal if you procrastinate for another year.
Here’s Willful CEO Erin Bury to explain:
How Does Creating an Online Will Work Exactly?
If you have ever done your own taxes (or watched the folks at a tax prep company do them in front of you) you know that it’s all software based. The program will ask you simple questions, you can select or type in answers, and then the beautiful software will spit out the formal document on the other end.
That’s basically what an online will is.
Now, in Canada, a “Last Will and Testament” is the main document involved – and it’s the one that says what you want done with your stuff, your wishes for your pets, and arrangements for your children.
Then you have some additional documents that some people refer to as a “Power of Attorney” and a “Living Will”. A Living Will is an American term that is erroneously used in place of the Canadian legal title of “Advanced Care Plan”. This is a document that outlines your instructions to the courts and medical professionals if you are no longer in a physical/mental state to communicate your decisions at a specific time.
A Power of Attorney on the other hand is a document that gives someone the ability to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Power of Attorney documents, and while they have different names in each province, one allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf (for example outlining a care plan to your doctor), and the other allows someone to make financial decisions on your behalf (for example paying your bills or selling your home). Under these agreements, you can designate someone to make certain types of decisions on your behalf.
When you sign up with Willful you’ll be guided through the will-creation process by answering a few simple prompts. These questions have been refined over the last few years as Willful has dealt with tens of thousands of wills + accompanying documents. To see just how easy, check out the helpful video below:
What Can You Do on Willful?
Willful platform guides you through:
- Appointing an executor to wrap up your estate, and any backups
- Appointing a guardian for minor children, and any backups
- Appointing a guardian for pets, and any backups
- Leaving any specific gifts
- Leaving charitable gifts
- Dividing up your estate by percentage
- Appointing backup beneficiaries in case any main beneficiaries pass away before you
- Outlining funeral and burial wishes (not a legally binding part of the will, but still important!)
- Appointing someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated
How Much Does Willful Cost?
Willful keeps their pricing simple, with three distinct packages (and one product unique to Quebec) – and the best part is they offer free unlimited updates in future, so you can keep your will up to date as your life changes.
The Essentials Plan – $99
Get your last will and testament done of the bargain price of $99. If you’re a single person, this is the perfect fit for you.
The Premium Plan – $149
The Premium Plan is the natural upgrade to the Essentials package. Make sure that you’re prepared with both types of power of attorney documents in case of emergencies.
The Family Bundle Plan – $125 Per Plan
If there’s two of you sitting down to do this, then the family plan makes the most sense. You’ll both get everything offered in the Premium Plan (at a slight discount), PLUS toss in anyone in your immediate family, and they receive the lower $125 price point as well! What a great way to check and make sure that your parents, aunts, uncles, or siblings have wills of their own.
Quebec only: Notarial Will – $349
In Quebec, Willful offers a fully bilingual platform, and they have a unique plan called the Notarial Plan, which helps Quebec residents create a fully digital notarial will, including execution by a notary and registration with the Chambres des notaries.
Willful Review FAQ
Below you can find the most common questions we have come across. If you have any other questions, or want to share your own experience with Willful, please leave a comment below!
Is Willful legit and legal?
Yes! Willful helped Canadians create over 32,000 documents in 2020 alone. Simply follow the steps outlined above, and you have a legal will and testament.
What does the Willful Online Will Platform Look Like?
Here’s a few pictures that illustrate just how simple Willful makes the process.
How long does creating a will take?
Willful estimates it will take as little as 20 minutes to create your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney for Personal Care, and Power of Attorney for Property.
Do I need a lawyer to draft my will?
Definitely not. Simply re-read the prerequisites for a legal will above.
Online Wills and Covid-19
While we are all a bit tired of talking about Covid-19, the pandemic has unfortunately made it more necessary than ever to have a will in place. Let’s be real about this – one of the only things worse than watching a loved one go through a tragic ordeal, is to first have this terrible experience, and then find out that instead of focusing on grieving for your loved one, you will have to sort out mounds of paperwork as well.
While many companies made sure to send out “in these troubling times” emails, I really appreciate the more authentic step that Willful took this year, as they provided more than 3,000 free online wills to frontline healthcare workers since last March.
A few regulations that have become more pertinent that ever over the last year:
- Willful will keep your account open if you would like to update your will at any time; however, in Canada it’s not legal to sign or store your will online. Only once your will has been signed in person – in the presence of two witnesses – is it legally binding. (With the exception of the Notrial requirement in Quebec.)
- Some provinces (such as BC, Alberta, and Ontario) now allow for virtual witnessing of signatures, but this still requires physical signatures on documents. Quebec also allows virtual execution of notarial wills under emergency orders.
- Spurred on by Covid-19, BC passed the first digital will legislation in Canada – the bill received royal assent in August 2020, and it’s expected to come into effect this spring. Other provinces have yet moved in this direction despite social distancing and lockdown guidelines.
Is Willful a Good Fit For You?
If you’re like most Canadians and don’t have any type of will – the answer is almost assuredly YES!
Willful is so much faster, cheaper, and more convenient than a full-priced lawyer. Any time I can get something done for about a fifth of the price – without putting on socially-acceptable clothing – count me in.
If you have a complicated estate that reads like something that might be read out as the plotline of a movie, then you might want to consider some more customized advice options. Here’s Willful’s Erin Bury again to explain why you should consider an online will.