Do you have a will in place? A legal will is one of the most important documents you will create in your life.
Many Canadians are unwilling to create a will because it is a complex undertaking, while the costs dissuade many others. On the other hand, some people do not create wills because they are uncomfortable discussing the idea of death.
Fortunately, making a legal will has become a far easier and cost-effective process, thanks to online will provider companies. These online resources help Canadians create legal wills at a fraction of the cost of working with a lawyer. You can also set up a power of attorney and make arrangements for end-of-life care.
Willful is revolutionizing the process of creating a legal will by simplifying it and reducing your overall cost.
My Willful review will discuss everything you need to know about the leading player in the online will space. I will also help you understand the importance of creating a will to help you make a more well-informed decision regarding creating a will.
- The process of creating a will is fast
- It is a cost-efficient method to create a will
- The entire process of creating the will is online and convenient
- Not suitable if you have a complex legal situation
- Not available in every province in Canada
Table of Contents
What Is Willful?
Willful is a Toronto-based fintech company that Kevin Oulds founded in 2017 and offers online legal will services in Canada.
The online platform offers templates prepared by experienced lawyers who have been practicing Estate Law. This provides you with a convenient, straightforward, and quicker process to create a will online for a significantly lower cost than working with a lawyer.
Willful has simplified the will-making process. You can create an account, answer questions presented to you in an online questionnaire, and by the end of the process, you will have a fully enforceable and printable will ready for you to sign.
In addition, you will only need to pay for the services you need, from as little as $99 for the essentials to additional tiers that can cost up to $125—a much lower cost than the traditional method of creating a will.
Willful began its operations in 2017 and started offering its service to Ontario residents. Over the years, the online will company has offered its services to residents across several provinces in Canada, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Manitoba.
Unfortunately, residents from other provinces in Canada cannot use the platform to create their wills online unless the company expands there.
Most Canadians Do Not Have Wills
I have known that many Canadians do not have wills, but I found alarming figures when I looked into the specific statistics. According to a poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute in 2017, 51% of Canadians do not have a will.
Willful conducted its own survey to determine how bad the situation is and found that almost 60% of residents in British Columbia do not have a will. On the other hand, 90% of millennials surveyed by Willful said that they have been putting off creating their online wills.
In my opinion, not having a will is not okay. Unfortunately, many people assume that you do not need to worry about creating a will if you are young, do not have assets, or do not need to worry about dependents. But while it may apply to young Canadians who have very little to their name and are still living with their parents, I feel that a majority of Canadians must have a will.
If you are not sure whether you need to have a will, here is a list of a few things that could help you determine whether you should have one:
- You recently married or remarried.
- You are in a common-law relationship.
- You recently went through a divorce or common-law separation.
- You have assets like properties to your name.
- You have children or other dependents.
- You own valuables like jewelry, art, or other heirlooms.
- You own assets that could cause tension among your family members after your death.
- You have a cause that is close to your heart, and you want to donate to it after you die.
- You own a business or have investments in your name.
Not having a will can have a devastating impact on the entire family. Most people assume that their partner or family members automatically inherit their assets when they die, but that is not how it works.
If you pass away without a will that outlines your wishes for how you would like your assets to be distributed, you will die intestate. It means that the province or territory you live in will take over the process and decide how to divide your assets. The relevant authority will also be responsible for deciding who will become the primary caregiver for your dependents.
The whole process of sorting out your assets, inheritance, caregiver, and everything else when you die intestate can take several months or even years. The loss of a loved one is already challenging as it is. Having to go through the lengthy process of the government deciding everything for you can make it even worse for the people you leave behind.
Creating a legal will might not lessen the pain of your passing, but it can make the process of dividing your assets and assigning the caregiver for your dependents much simpler.
What You Can Expect While Creating A Traditional Will
Understanding what goes on in the traditional method of creating a will can help you see why so many Canadians are putting off creating a will in the first place.
- The process begins with seeking an estate firm or a lawyer with good reviews and offers reasonable rates.
- The next step will be contacting the lawyer and discussing the process.
- They will then tell you the documents you need to fill out with details for your will.
- You will need to visit the firm to review and sign all the documents to make them official and enforceable.
The process can be easy. However, the cost is a whole different matter. The average cost for creating a will can be more than $1,000, minus the cost of getting a Power of Attorney. To make matters costlier, any additions or changes to your will in the future can cost at least $250 per hour.
Remember that this example covers the most straightforward wills without customizations. Working with an estate lawyer to create a complex will that covers several sophisticated legal aspects for your estate can cost a lot more.
What You Can Expect While Creating A Traditional Will Through Willful
Willful is an online will-making software that guides you through the process of creating your own will. Think of it as the equivalent of tax software guides that help you file your tax returns.
Unlike any run-of-the-mill will-making kit with empty templates to fill out, Willful takes a comprehensive approach to the process. It guides you through each step, educates you about will-making, and offers support if you have any questions.
People typically use tax software when their taxes are simple. Similarly, Willful is perfect if your estate planning needs are straightforward. However, a complicated legal situation might require professional legal advice, and it may be better to hire an estate lawyer.
Getting started with Willful is easy. You can begin the process free of charge by going to the homepage and clicking on a button. There is no need to pay any fees upfront. Simply begin the process by registering an account.
You do not need to complete your will in one sitting. You can start the process of creating your will, save your progress, and come back another time to finish the process. You can also go back to make changes to any fields you have previously filled out.
After you register with Willful, you will have to choose from one of the three different plans available with the platform and begin creating your will. I will outline the cost for the plans and what they offer below. After that, you can choose a plan based on what fits your needs best. Tracking your progress is easy because there is a section on the left side of the screen that lists down the pages you need to complete.
Willful Plans and Cost
The traditional method of creating a will by working with a lawyer can be quite expensive. Online wills are much more affordable than having a lawyer complete your will. Depending on your needs, you can save a significant amount by creating a will through Willful.
A major advantage of creating a will through Willful is that it gives you three different plans with clearly stated fees. There are no hidden costs or complex add-ons to overwhelm you.
This section of my Willful review will cover the different plans available through the will-making platform and what they can cost.
The Essentials Plan
The “Essentials” is the first plan available through Willful that lets you create a legal online will through the platform for just $99.
With this plan, you can outline your most basic wishes, lay out how you would like your estate to be distributed in case of your death, and declare personal representatives to carry out your wishes. You can also appoint beneficiaries, name guardians for your dependents, and plan for their inheritance.
You can make as many changes to the document as necessary. By the time you finish, you will have a complete and official version of your last will and testament for just a price of $99.
The Premium Plan
The “Premium” plan is the second plan available through Willful that lets you create a legal online will through the platform for $149.
As its name suggests, the Premium plan covers everything that the Essentials offer, plus provisions for more detailed estate planning. This plan also includes provisions that can help you create a plan for your assets in case of an emergency. You can also declare your wishes in case of medical emergencies using this plan.
I recommend choosing this plan if you want to assign a beneficiary who is not your common-law partner. When you finish the process of creating a will through the Premium plan, you will have three complete and enforceable documents:
- A Last Will and Testament
- A Power of Attorney for emergencies (for finance and property)
- A healthcare emergency representative and wishes
The Family Plan
The “Family” plan is the third plan available through Willful that lets you create a legal online will through the platform for $125.
This plan lets you create wills as a family or as a couple using Willful. Up to six people can purchase their own plan at $125 through Willful. If you are a couple, it will cost you $250. The plan comes with the features of the Essentials and the benefits of the Premium plan.
It also adds the ability to send email invitations from your account to allocate the additional plans. The Family plan creates individual plans for each family member, ensuring that everybody in the family is covered.
Using the Family plan will save you 16% on each plan you purchase. When you finish the process of creating a will through the Family plan, you will have these complete and enforceable documents:
- A Last Will and Testament
- A Power of Attorney for Emergency (for Finance and Property)
- A healthcare emergency representative and wishes
What Makes Willful Great
The cost savings are a significant selling point of using Willful to create your legal online will in Canada. However, that should not be everything you can consider. There are other reasons that make Willful an ideal choice for Canadians looking to make a legal will online. Here are some aspects that set Willful apart from other online will-making platforms in Canada.
Willful offers three different plans with simple prices. You will only need to pay what is highlighted in the plans without worrying about additional and complicated provisions, coupons, or hidden fees. The more comprehensive plans available through Willful undoubtedly offer the best value for money.
Unlimited and Free Updates
Willful offers unlimited and free updates to the will. It means you can make as many changes and updates to your will based on your changing needs without worrying about exorbitant costs. This option is something that working with lawyers cannot match.
Excellent User Experience
Willful makes will-making a much more exciting process. The layout of the online will-making platform is straightforward, intuitive, and attractive. The guided questions provided by the platform helps you through the entire process within minutes. All the complex legal work is handled behind the scenes, and you only need to worry about what you want the will to cover.
Information-Rich Resource Center
Willful also boasts a comprehensive learning center on its website. It offers helpful tutorials that are designed to teach you everything you should know about estate planning. The resource center can also teach you valuable lessons regarding estate planning, like what a Power of Attorney document is for, how to choose a witness for your will, and the role an executor plays.
Great Customer Service
Willful makes a big deal out of customer experience. The platform ensures that its customers are satisfied with its service, so it filled the resource center with useful information. You can contact the customer service team at Willful through the online chat feature on the website. Expect quick responses with adequate solutions to your problems.
Is Willful Safe and Legit?
It is perfectly reasonable to wonder whether a will created using Willful or any other online will-making platform is legally valid and safe. With people contesting wills so much in movies, dramas, and real life, it would be wise to be cautious and ensure that your will is rock solid.
Fortunately, you have nothing to worry about when you are using Willful. It is not a secret will written on a napkin or without witnesses.
The online will-making platform uses AES-256 block-level storage encryption. It means that your information will be safe from hacks and data breaches.
Regarding the validity of the will, you should know that Canadian law does not require you to create a will in the presence of a notary public or lawyer. If you meet the following requirement while creating a will, it will be considered a valid legal document:
- You must be 18 or older at the time of creating the will.
- You must be sound of mind when creating the will.
- The will must be printed or written down on paper.
- It is necessary to have two witnesses who will also sign your will.
- The two witnesses cannot be people who benefit from your will (i.e., they cannot be named beneficiaries or paid).
- These two witnesses must be in the same room with you when they sign the will.
- You must sign your will.
Willful outlines everything necessary to make a legal will a valid and enforceable document, when to print them, and who can or cannot sign the document.
With all that being said, Willful does explain that if you need legal advice or have a complex estate planning situation, it is better to hire an estate lawyer. This is because the platform does not offer legal advice, and it is not a law firm.
Frequently Asked Questions About Willful
This section of my Willful review will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the platform.
What happens if I die without a will?
A person who dies without a will is called an intestate. The common myth about dying intestate is that the government can claim all your assets and finances. That is not true.
The government will have the ability to decide how your assets or estate are distributed between family members on your behalf. Creating a will lets you decide how your assets and the estate are divided between beneficiaries and distributed to them over time, instead of your children merely receiving a lump sum amount when they turn 18.
How does the power of attorney and other related documents differ from the last will and testament?
A power of attorney governs your personal, medical, legal, and financial aspects before you pass away. A last will and testament will only be executed in the event of your death.
Willful’s Power of Attorney documents are designed to be used if an accident or medical emergency occurs, and you are no longer capable of executing the important decisions yourself.
Do I need a lawyer to draft my will?
A lawyer does not need to create your will for you, according to Canadian law. A legal will is a document that outlines your final wishes and the distribution of the assets you own after you die. The key is that your will needs to be signed by two competent and adult witnesses and yourself.
The witnesses must be present with you at the same time when signing the documents, and they must not benefit in any way from your will. You need to store the original hard copy of your will in a safe place that a family member or executor you name in your will can access.
Can I still use Willful with a complex estate?
Willful has been designed for Canadians who have assets, whether a property or anything else with monetary value. Most Canadians can use the platform to create a will that can adequately cater to their wishes after they die.
However, the software cannot cater to the more complex estate planning requirements—for instance, if you own properties in multiple countries. Willful highly recommends working with a qualified estate planning lawyer if your estate planning needs are complex.
Why can’t I sign and store my will online?
Canadian law requires having a will that is printed, signed, and stored as a hard copy. Until the law changes, you cannot sign and store a legally binding and enforceable will online.
I live outside Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Can I still use Willful to draft my will?
Creating a legal will in Canada requires abiding by the laws in your territory or province. As of this writing, Willful only offers its services to residents in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and British Columbia. However, the platform is working with estate lawyers to expand its services throughout Canada.
Willful Review: Alternative Online Will-Making Platforms
This section of my Willful review will compare the platform to an alternative that you can consider. When I think of alternatives to Willful for online will-making platforms, Canadian Legal Wills is the most prominent name that comes to mind.
Willful vs. Canadian Legal Wills
Canadian Legal Wills is also a comprehensive will-making platform that lets you create a legal online will in Canada. However, Willful has a more intuitive interface that is more modern and makes the entire process seamless.
Canadian Legal Wills offers plans starting at $39.95 and offers a complete estate plan for couples at $143.76. However, its pricing structure is complex and makes plenty of room for lower transparency. One major advantage for Canadian Legal Wills users is that it is available throughout Canada.
An alarming number of Canadians do not have a will. Many cite the complexity of the process, while others put it off because of the costs of working with a lawyer.
However, online will-making platforms like Willful make it much easier to create a legal will online for more straightforward cases through a streamlined, convenient, and affordable process.For this reason, Willful is an exceptional platform that gets a thumbs up from Wealth Awesome. You can check out the online will-making platform here.