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.
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”). Learn more about making an online will in Canada and online will kits that are best for you.
Best Online Legal Wills in Canada
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 the 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 and up
- 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 Lawyer-Caliber Documents: Epilogue
Epilogue is the only online estate planning platform founded and run by experienced estate lawyers. It offers lawyer-quality documents that are the same (or even better) than what a lawyer would prepare. It takes approximately 20 minutes to create a legally-binding will and it’s a painless process, thanks to the prompts along the way to help you with the completion from beginning to end. It’s also a cost-efficient option for couples who may have wishes that differ, whereas some other platforms force couples to mirror a number of wishes and decisions. Note: Epilogue does not provide legal or any other professional advice, such as accounting or tax advice.
- Cost: From $139.
- Availability: Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia. More provinces to be added in 2021.
- Services: Wills, Power of Attorneys, Affidavits of Execution
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
Pros and Cons of Online Wills
Using an online will service isn’t perfect, there are several pros and cons to consider.
- 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 are far more affordable.
- Convenient: Complete your will from the comfort of your own home. There is no need to visit a lawyer’s office.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
That being said, if you have straightforward legal requirements, online will kits are an excellent way to finally formalize this very important document in a convenient and inexpensive way. If you decide to sign up with Willful, use the promo code YOUNGANDTHRIFTY and get $20 off any Willful plan.