Making a will is an important part of your estate planning.
While you cannot control when you die, you can control who gets your possessions when you pass away through a will.
A will allows you to determine the future of your loved ones even when you’re not alive.
This makes it so important to make a will that can spell your wishes when you’re no more.
However, contrary to what many make it look like, making a will is not hard.
But there are fundamental things you need to keep in mind to avoid problems later on.
This brings us to us why you need to use a cost-effective method when making your will.
Undoubtedly, the cost-effective means of making a will today is online.
In this guide, I provide everything you need to know about online wills Canada.
Let’s get started.
What Is an Online Will?
An online will is a legal document that gives authority to a person, family member or estate to use your property upon death.
When you make a will, you allow your loved ones to go on without you.
So with a will, you can determine the future of your family, your property, or even your business when you die.
Thus, making a will is not something you should take lightly, considering the factors that will come into play during the planning and execution of your will.
There’s a lot to know about will-making, including what legal steps and information are needed.
As you continue reading, you will learn more about what online wills Canada entail.
Are Online Wills Legal in Canada?
Yes, online wills Canada are legal, with the exception of Quebec, which operates a different law.
However, for an online will to be legal in Canada, it must be done properly.
So the question is, how do you make Canada online will legal? To this, we now turn.
What Makes a Will Legal In Canada?
As mentioned above, online wills in Canada are legal. However, not all online wills are considered legal.
So for your online will to be considered legal in Canada, you must meet the following requirements:
1. Reach the Age of Majority in Your Province
The first thing that determines the legality of your online will in Canada is that you must reach the age of majority in your province.
The age of majority in Canada varies across provinces and territories.
The following table displays two-variable ages of majority in Canadian provinces and territories.
|Province/Territory||Age of Majority|
Prince Edward Island
2. Be in Sound Mind
You must be in sound mind to make a legal Canada online will.
This means you must not be suffering from a mental disability that prevents you from understanding the nature of your actions and their consequences.
3. You Must Sign in the Presence of Two Witnesses
A legally recognized Canadian online will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.
This means after making your will online, you must print it and sign in the presence of your two witnesses.
4. Two Witnesses Must Sign It
Finally, your two witnesses must sign it in your presence for your online will to be recognized legally in Canada.
Notably, your two witnesses must not be part of your beneficiaries.
Why Create a Last Will and Testament?
Here are the top reasons why you need to create a last will and testament as a Canadian.
1. Protect Your Family/Dependents
A will is one of the simplest ways to protect assets you may leave to your children or to someone else when you die.
So a will it’s not just a paper record that you fill out and sign. It’s a legally binding agreement that outlines who has rights and responsibilities in the event of your death.
If you die without a will, the government will determine who gets the shares of your estate who may not be the person you would have wished.
2. Tax Reduction
A will is one of the most important legal documents you’ll create to reduce the amount of taxes on your estate taxes.
So making a will ensure that estate serves as financial security to your loved ones, reducing the pains of your exit.
As you continue reading, you will learn more about the benefits of online wills Canada and how to get started.
Online Will Canada: What Happens if You Die Without Making a Will?
Can you imagine your loved ones fighting over who gets what upon your demise? That’s a possible picture of the future.
If you were to leave this world without making a will, your estate would be divided according to the intestate laws of the province/territory you live in.
The major consequence is that your assets will be distributed in a way you would not have wished.
This may lead to delays, frustrations and high cost of distributing your assets.
Also, your children may be handled by a guardian that would have been against your wish.
Clear all uncertainties about the future of your loved ones today by making an online will in Canada.
When Should You Make a Will?
Once you reach the age of majority in your province/territory, you are qualified to make a will.
There is not a one-size-fits-all time to make a will. Most people make wills based on their needs and current financial situation.
However, you may want to make the best decision by making a will during a major period in your life. This includes when you start having children and make/ inherit big business.
Common Features of Online Wills in Canada
Not all online wills Canada are the same but all Canadian online wills have common features. These are:
1. A Guardian
A will gives you the opportunity to identify who will take care of your children upon your demise.
Failure to appoint a guardian may subject your children to the hands of those you would not have wished.
Determine who gets part of your assets and how much by making a will. This could be your real estate, business, money or anything.
By identifying who gets what on your assets, you will prevent future problems among your loved ones.
As mentioned earlier, for an online will Canada to be considered valid, it must be signed by two witnesses.
Such witnesses must not be part of your beneficiaries in any way.
How to Make an Online Will in Canada
Now that you know about the common features of online wills Canada, let’s take a step-by-step guide on how to make your will.
1. Choose Your Beneficiaries
The first thing to consider when making a Canada will online is who will benefit from your asset when you pass away.
This may help avoid confusion or arguing over inheritances among your loved ones.
Your beneficiaries could be your children, spouse, common-law partner or your favourite charity organization.
Upon identifying your beneficiaries, you can now determine how your assets would be shared upon your demise.
However, you must be as specific as possible in describing how your assets would be shared to them.
For example, if you have multiple children, you may want to specify how much of your assets each of them should get upon your demise.
This is ideal to avoid any confusion about who will receive what and how much of your assets.
3. Choose a Guardian for Your Children
If you have minors or little kids, it is important to choose someone that will act as their parent on your behalf when you’re no more.
Choosing a guardian will impact the future of your children upon your demise.
Whether a family member or friend, it’s important to choose someone that you believe can help your children reach their full potential when you’re gone.
4. Find Witnesses
As mentioned earlier, your will is expected to be signed by two witnesses to become legal in Canada. Such witnesses must not be among your will beneficiaries.
Thus, ensure that you find the right witnesses that you are confident will bear true testimony about your will in the courtroom.
5. Look for an Executor
An executor is a person or an institution that ensures your will is implemented upon your demise.
It could be a lawyer, a friend, a family member or a bank. Ensure that your select your executor else the court will determine it for you upon your demise
Consequently, your assets may be distributed in a way that you would not have wished.
6. Make Your Will
Depending on the online will-making platform that you choose, you can now take the major step of creating your will.
All you need is to fill in the boxes with the right information.
Within a few minutes, you can have your will ready to sign.
In this guide, you will learn about the best online will-making sites in Canada.
7. Sign Your Will
Once you’ve provided the required information on your will, you have to print it and sign.
Subsequently, your two witnesses will be required to sign for your will to become legal.
8. Store Your Will Properly
How you store your will can affect its usefulness when you die. Store your will where it will be protected from fire or other harmful things.
You can store your will in a bank or anywhere you feel it will be safe.
However, ensure that someone is aware of where you store your will for easy access after your demise.
9. Review and Update Your Last Will and Testament
Review and update your will whenever a significant life event occurs in your life. This could be marriage, conception, or divorce.
Ensure that you review your will from time to time so as to reflect your current last will and testament (codicil).
Best Online Wills in Canada
Online Wills Canada makes it cost-effective and easy for Canadians to make wills.
In the following sections, I will discuss the best online wills platforms in Canada.
Epilogue is a leading online estate planning platform established and managed by a team of professional estate attorneys.
It provides documents that are of the same (or higher) quality as those prepared by a lawyer.
With Epilogue, you can create a legally recognized will within 20 minutes through a step-by-step guide.
Cost: From $139.
This platform allows you to create a free all online within a few minutes.
After you’ve completed the online questionnaire, print the PDF version of the will. You and your two witnesses can then sign.
Even though Canada Wills is the top Canadian free online will-making platform, I’m not okay with the fact that it doesn’t offer high-quality service and assistance.
As a result, I wouldn’t suggest them to anyone who has few dollars to patronize the above affordable online wills Canada platforms.
Willful is a newbie to the world of online wills, but it’s already making waves.
It has swiftly established itself as a respected and intuitive platform that assists you in making your will effortlessly.
Willful’s step-by-step questionnaire walks you through each stage of the procedure.
Within 20 minutes, you can have your will ready for printing and signing.
Cost: From $99
Online Wills in Canada vs Free Canadian Will Template
You may want to use a free Canadian will template or free Canada will kit if you can’t afford one of the above online wills Canada.
Unlike online wills in Canada, a free Canadian will template or a free Canada will kit helps you create a will without a cost.
However, before using a free Canadian will template or a free Canada will kit, it’s important to know its pros and cons.
Pros of Free Canada Will Kit
- Low Cost: A free-will kit is a cost-effective option for making a will without spending anything.
- Speed: Within a few minutes, you can have your will ready for signature and witness.
Cons of Free Canada Will Kit
- One-Size-Fits-All: Free Canada wills kits are created to meet the needs of all individuals. They don’t regard personal needs and circumstances, making it difficult for those with complex situations.
- Unnecessary Comments: This type of template often contains sections that are unnecessary, leading to contradictions in your will.
- Limited Personalized Support: Most free Canada wills kits are static kits that provide no personalized assistance and guidance.
Examples of Free Canadian Will Template
Here are some of the examples of free Canadian will templates:
Final Thoughts on Online Wills in Canada
As you have just learnt, making a will can be as easy as knowing what you have and who should get it when you are gone.
So when you pass away, your will ensures that your assets are distributed to those you wished to.
However, not having a will can lead your loved ones into big problems and conflicts in the process of sharing your assets.
This may be compounded by the government handling the case and employing someone to distribute your assets to those you would not have wished.
To protect your loved ones from all of this, take the next step of making your will using any of the above online wills Canada.
If you need further help in making your will, don’t hesitate to contact a financial advisor who’s in the right position to give you customized advice.
FAQs on Online Wills in Canada
Can I Just Write a Will Myself?
Yes, you can write your will yourself without involving a lawyer.
However, if you’re not sure of what to do, it’s important you seek help from a financial advisor or lawyer.
Furthermore, for your DIY to be legally recognized, it must be signed and witnessed.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Canada?
There’s no law that makes it compulsory to involve a lawyer in making a will in Canada.
However, it’s advisable to contact a lawyer if you’re not sure of the will-making process.
Does a Will Need to Be Notarized in Canada?
No, there’s no law in Canada that requires your will to be notarized. All you need is to have your will signed in the presence of two witnesses.
Who Can Witness a Will in Ontario
As in other Canadian provinces and territories, those that can witness a will in Ontario are those selected by the testator (will-maker), who are not part of his/her beneficiaries.
Do Wills Expire in Canada?
There’s no expiry date for wills in Canada.
Have more questions on online wills Canada? Let me know in the comment section.