Once you’ve decided to make a will, you might be wondering where to begin. Just like there are many ways to arrange for a funeral, there are many ways to make a will. In this article, we explain the different methods of creating a will so that you can get an idea which route is best for you.
A holographic will is handwritten, signed and dated by you. It’s the only type of will that doesn’t need to be witnessed. While it might seem like a simple and cost-effective option, for the majority of us who don’t have a legal background, it’s easy to contradict ourselves or omit necessary components of a will. Holographic wills are not recognized in British Columbia, so if that’s where you live, this is not a valid option. Holographic wills are only recommended as a last-resort option (but planning ahead can help you avoid that).
DIY Will Kits:
A DIY will kit is a fill-in-the-blank document that allows you to fill in key pieces of information about your estate. They’re a basic, one-size fits all document, so they offer very little personalization and leave no room for custom requests. Although will kits are inexpensive, ranging from free to around $50, you would have to purchase a new one anytime you go through a life change like moving, getting married/divorced, having a child, adding/removing beneficiaries that are outdated or wanting to switch who is appointed as your executor – so it can add up.
Online Will Platforms (like Willful)
An online platform like Willful combines the convenience and affordability of a will kit with the ability to tailor your documents to your unique life situation. An online will platform is ideal for people with simple estates who don’t need legal advice. While Willful wills were crafted with estate lawyers, you customize the documents by answering a series of questions about your unique life situation. One of the major benefits of Willful is that your key information is saved in your account and you have the option to come back and change your will at any time without having to start all over again. Currently, updates are completely free so you don’t have to spend money updating your will every time your life changes or when you want to edit specific parts of your will and other legal documents.
If you have a complex estate (assets in multiple countries, a child with a disability, are separated but not divorced or need lots of custom clauses), making a will with a lawyer may be your best bet. If you want specific legal advice when making your will, you would also need to work with a lawyer. You’ll need a bigger budget to have a lawyer create your will – it can cost $800+ with an estate lawyer. However, you’re paying for their legal expertise so they’ll be able to advise you on how to best deal with any complexities of your estate.
More than half of Canadian adults don’t have a will (57%) and the most common reason is because they just keep putting it off until tomorrow, one day or some day. The worst type of will is the absence of one.
If you pass away without a will, it’s up to the government to use estate laws to distribute your assets, decide on a guardian for any minor children, and appoint an executor. The government may not handle things how you would have wanted them to and the entire process can take so long it could be months (sometimes even years) before your affairs are settled for your loved ones.
So whichever method you choose to make a will, make sure it’s the best fit for your life situation and get it done as soon as possible. Customers of Basic Funerals can now enjoy $20 off any Willful plan with code BASICFUNERALS. Just enter promo code at checkout when you’re ready to pay and discount will automatically apply.
About the Author
Erin Hebert is the Marketing Coordinator at Willful, an online estate planning platform that’s on a mission to make sure every Canadian adult has a will. Willful works with lawyers from each province to ensure their documents are customized to provincial laws and regulations. Trusted by thousands of Canadians coast-to-coast, Willful wants to make sure every family can enjoy peace of mind knowing they have a plan in place for life’s unexpected twists and turns.