You’re never too young to write your first legal will.
Writing a will in Canada is relatively simple and can be done using a free will kit and signing your documents with two witnesses.
Below, I’m going to show you some of the best free will kits in Canada, so you can ensure that your affairs are in order.
A recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute found that around 51% of Canadians don’t have a will, which could result in complications for their family after their death.
This is a bit surprising considering the fact that wills are relatively simple to write. Free will kits make the process even easier.
Free will kits basically just include a fill-in-the-blanks sheet, where you’ll name:
- The executor of the will (the person responsible for ensuring your wishes are fulfilled)
- Your beneficiaries (the people receiving your assets)
- Your assets (and who gets what)
- Guardianship (if you have children)
Your free will kit will also include detailed instructions on how to finalize your will so it’s legitimate and legally approved.
Your will can always be modified and altered in the future, so there’s really no excuse to procrastinate.
A wise man once said, “The best time to start is now.” With that in mind, here are some of the best free will kits in Canada, so you can start writing your will now.
1. Canada Wills
- Get Your Free Will Kit: CanadaWills.com
Canada Wills is easily the best free will kit in Canada. The company has been providing free will kits for over 20 years, and is one of the most trusted platforms in Canada.
The same company also provides a US-based service, doing business as America Wills.
Canada Wills is committed to keeping its customers’ information private, and will never ask you for your credit card, send you a bill, or otherwise harass you.
This is refreshing compared to other “free” legal sites, which may use a free service as a lead capture to sell your data to advertisers.
The platform’s most popular product is its free will kit, which gives you all of the things you need to finalize a legitimate will so that your assets don’t go to the government.
In addition to standard asset categories, Canada Wills also gives its customers the ability to detail digital assets (such as your cryptocurrency investments or NFTs), set up a pet trust, and guardianship.
In addition to the free will kit, Canada Wills also offers a final wishes kit. This kit allows you to decide your final wishes as you approach the end of your life. This would include details on situations like:
- At-home care vs. hospital care
- Hospice options
- What to do if you’re in a coma or hospitalized
The only real downside to Canada Wills is that editing your will isn’t easy. You won’t be able to make small modifications to your will or update it easily. Instead, you’ll have to start writing your will from scratch each time that you want to make a modification to it.
Of course, this doesn’t take too long, as you’ll mostly just be copying information over from your previous will. Still, it’s a complaint worth noting.
- Get Your Free Will Kit: LawDepot.ca
LawDepot provides a one-stop shop for pretty much any agreement or legal contract that you may need. In addition to free will kit templates, you’ll also be able to find contracts, such as:
- Power of attorney
- Residential lease agreements
- LLC Operating agreements
- … and more
All of the contract templates on this site have been designed by lawyers and include all of the basic legal terminology a document needs to appear legitimate.
You can start writing your will out online with LawDepot’s easy-to-use platform. Once you’ve finished, you can download your will directly to your device and request a backup will be emailed to you, so you can always access it.
The one problem is that LawDepot isn’t exactly free. It’s a subscriber-based platform that bills its customers $40 per month for unlimited access to the platform’s legal documents.
All your documents will be saved on your online account, making them easy to modify in the future (which is a huge plus). However, the monthly fee is a bit steep.
Thankfully, there’s a workaround. LawDepot offers a free one-week trial. During this time, you can write and finalize your will and download it, so you can print and sign the documents.
After this, you just have to cancel your LawDepot subscription before your card is charged for your first month of membership.
- Get Your Free Will Kit: TheFreeWillKit.com/ca
The Free Will Kit is a platform that operates very similarly to Canada Wills’ free service. Currently, the company offers free wills in Canada, the US, and Spain. You’ll be able to complete your will online, and customize your will.
Additionally, you’ll also be given the opportunity to complete the Healthcare Surrogate document.
This document allows you to specify an individual who’s responsible for making healthcare decisions for you if you’re unable to decide for yourself (i.e. – if you’re unaware or in a coma).
The only catch is that The Free Will Kit Canada is mostly just a marketing ploy to sell its customers’ life insurance.
Unlike Canada Wills, which sends your will directly to you with no frills, The Free Will Kit is delivered in person by an insurance agent. Before handing off your will, you’ll have to sit through a brief sales pitch for life insurance.
Personally, I’d recommend going with Canada Wills and picking your own affordable life insurance policy using PolicyMe, which gives you the option to choose the insurance provider that’s best for you.
- Get Your Free Will Kit: FreeLegalWillKit.com
Free Legal Will Kit is pretty much a carbon copy of The Free Will Kit that I just mentioned above. To sign up for the platform, you’ll need to provide personal details, including:
- Your full name
- Your home address
- Your mobile phone number
- Your email address
Then, you’ll be able to create an account on the site, and start writing your will for free. Once your will is complete, a “courier” will deliver your will to your home, along with your Power of Attorney form (if you completed it).
At this point, you’ll be asked to sit through a brief sales pitch for life insurance or other products and services.
Personally, Free Legal Will Kit feels a bit exploitative. I already have enough advertisers who call my phone daily and send me spam. I’d rather not listen to another sales pitch if I don’t have to.
That being said, I’ve met a few people who’ve used the service, and the quality of the documents that they receive is top-notch. So, it could be worth the sales pitch.
This one’s for all of my frugal livers and DIY readers. You can always download a free will template online and fill it out without having to create any online accounts or share your personal information with free will kit sites.
The best way to do this is to visit Google Images and type in “last will and testament template.”
Find a template that features what you need, and then copy/paste it into a word processor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. From here, you can directly edit the entire document or use the original template verbatim.
Writing your will is the hard part. However, there’s one last step you’ll need to take before it’s official.
To transform your will from an unofficial contract into an official legally-binding document, you’ll need to sign it along with two witnesses.
Your will must be signed with your hand-written signature and the hand-written signatures of each of the two witnesses. Having two witnesses ensures that the legitimacy of your will can’t be questioned and is a practice that’s been followed for centuries.
Without a will, your surviving family, business partners, spouse, and children could be left arguing over who gets what.
Even the most loving family can turn to arguing after a death in the family. By writing a will, you’re defining exactly who is entitled to each of your assets. Assets could include:
- Your savings
- Your investments
- Your home
- Your vehicles
- Your tools and equipment
- Your business
Technically speaking, even pets are considered property (legally, at least), so you can use a will to name a future home for your animal to ensure that they’re always taken care of.
If you’re a parent, writing a will is especially important, as it allows you to name a future guardian for your children.
During the recent pandemic, as death rates soared, a record number of millennials under age 35 began writing their wills.
Many people hold off on writing a will because they feel uncomfortable about planning for their death. It’s usually not something that most people want to fret about prematurely.
Accidents can happen to the best of us, though, and we never know what the next day may hold. Writing a will is just another responsible choice, just like buying life insurance.
It ensures that your possessions don’t end up as government property and will give your loved ones peace of mind.
Using a free will kit like the ones I mentioned above is a good idea for the majority of young people or those who don’t own a large amount of assets or businesses. However, free will kits aren’t quite as detailed or customizable as a professional will kit.
This is especially true for business owners, investors, or wealthy individuals.
For example, if you’re an investor, you may have final wishes for your investments. You may wish to transfer ownership of stocks over to your spouse, or include a stipulation that your company shares can’t be sold, so that they stay in your family.
If you’re looking for something a bit more professional, you’ll have to pay for it. That being said, there’s a lot more room for customization with a professional will kit like one of the following.
- Get Started: Write Your Will Today
If you prefer a more expensive one-time cost to an annual membership, then Epilogue Wills is a good choice. Instead of paying $39.95 per year (as you would with Legal Wills), individuals will pay a one-time fee of $139.
For $199, you’ll be able to complete both your will and incapacity documents (in the event that you’re alive but unable to make decisions).
Epilogue Wills also offers a discount for couples who want to write their wills together. A couple’s will costs $269 for the will by itself and $329 for dual will and incapacity documents.
Once you pay the one-time fee, you’ll be able to access your account anytime, update your will, and download it. It’s a lifetime membership, so you’ll never have to worry about keeping up with an annual bill.
- Get Started: Write Your Will Today
Legal Wills is a simple, easy-to-use platform that allows you to write your will online. The company has been in business for over 20 years, and has positive reviews across the internet (which is always good to see).
Once you create your account, you’ll be billed an annual fee of $39.95. This annual membership will save your will online and allow you to return and make unlimited updates and changes.
If you cancel your membership, just keep in mind that you won’t be able to go back and make updates.
Upon completion of your will, you’ll be able to download and print the documents at home. Legal Wills doesn’t mail will kits, as it poses a potential security risk.
Your documents will be written and completed online. Once you download the completed will, you’ll just need to sign it with two witnesses and put the document somewhere safe.
- Special Offer: Sign up for Legal Wills through Wealth Awesome to save $5 on your first year’s membership!
- Get Started: Write Your Will Today
Anybody can use Willful to create a simple individual will for $99, which is a bit cheaper than Epilogue Wills. However, this document is fairly basic and doesn’t give you a lot of room for customization or detailing asset categories.
If you want to upgrade to a more involved will, then you’ll need to pay $189, which is more expensive than Epilogue’s base package.
Willful also offers a family will package for $329, which allows two family members (usually a couple) to create their will together.
The fee is a one-time lifetime membership cost, which means that you’ll be able to update and access your will anytime.
Components of a Comprehensive Will in Canada
While laws can vary by province, in general, a comprehensive will in Canada should include the following components:
- Declaration: This is a statement where you declare that this is your last will and testament, revoking all previously made wills and codicils. It also includes your legal name, address, and the date of creating the will.
- Executor: You need to appoint an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as stated in your will. The executor administers your estate after your death, so choose someone trustworthy. You may also want to name an alternate executor, in case the primary one is unable or unwilling to act.
- Guardians: If you have minor children, it’s essential to name a guardian who would care for them if both parents die before the children reach adulthood.
- Beneficiaries: Clearly list the individuals or entities (like charities) who will receive your assets. Describe the specific gifts (like money, property, or personal possessions) each beneficiary will receive.
- Instructions for Debt and Taxes: Your will should include instructions on how debts, funeral expenses, and taxes should be paid.
- Witnesses: To make the will legally valid, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, and they must also sign the will in your presence and the presence of each other. In Canada, the witnesses should not be beneficiaries in the will, or they may lose their inheritance.
- Signatures: Your signature and the date are required, as are the signatures of the two witnesses.
- Alternate Plans: You should provide instructions in case a beneficiary predeceases you. You might decide to distribute their portion amongst the remaining beneficiaries or name alternate beneficiaries.
- Additional instructions: These may include directions about your funeral arrangements or how to handle your digital assets (such as email accounts, social media, and digital photos).
The best free will kit in Canada is, without a doubt, Canada Wills. They seem to be one of the only free will kits that don’t come with additional advertising stipulations or short-term “free trials” that bill you later.
If you’re looking for a more detailed, professional will, then I recommend going with Epilogue Wills. I like the company’s one-time fee, and the user interface is very simple and easy to use.
Writing a will is just as important as purchasing life insurance. Both will protect your family and investments after you pass. Keep on reading to see the best term life insurance providers in Canada next!