To ensure that your wishes are upheld in the future, it’s critical to plan ahead with essential documents like a Will. It is a legally-binding document that you create while you are of sound mind to set out what happens after your passing.
However, despite its importance, because of the nature of the topic, many avoid completing a Will. To help Canadians complete this important task, different companies such as Epilogue and Willful offer simplified ways to create a basic estate plan. In this article, we delve into the specifics of Wills themselves and compare these two popular services.
What Is A Will?
A Will is a document that lays out the division of your assets after your death. It indicates who is responsible for distributing the assets and managing payments, the executor. Though it is impossible to foresee the specifics of what can happen after your death, having a Will is a key safeguard. Known as a Last Will and Testament, it is a legally-binding document that goes into specifics of your wishes. These range from appointing an executor, naming a guardian for your minor children or pets, and deciding how your assets will be distributed.
Because this single document informs so many essential decisions (with significant ramifications for your loved ones), there is a specific process that must be followed when it comes to signing the Will to make sure it’s legally binding. It requires two witnesses. Once your Will is complete and properly executed, you can rest easy knowing that your affairs are in order and that you’ve accounted for everything from child care to finances.
What Happens If You Die Without A Will?
If you die without a proper Will, there is nothing to indicate your wishes, leaving your estate vulnerable to the intestacy laws of your province or territory and potential familial issues. Failing to generate a Will results in decisions made by the courts, rather than your loved ones, which may be different from what you would have wanted. Though there are processes in place to ensure that your debts get paid and the estate distributed, these are standardized approaches, not specific to you.
Without a Will, the loved ones you leave behind are left with almost impossible decisions that a Will would have otherwise managed. Especially if you consider the state of bereavement for your loved ones after your death, necessary choices may not get the required attention. To prevent this, make sure you have a Will in place that names a trustworthy executor and mitigates potential probate issues for those you care about.
Where Can You Create A Will Online?
Canada has an approximate population of 35 million people; and, strictly speaking, all of them require a Will at some point. To address this demand, there is no shortage of companies that offer Will-creation services. These range from in-person consultations with estate lawyers to DIY approaches that come in a kit. It all comes down to trustworthiness and merit; knowing that the company you choose will properly execute your Will. When it comes to online options, two companies stand out from the rest: Epilogue and Willful.
Epilogue is the only online Will platform in Canada founded by two experienced estate lawyers. Epilogue offers lawyer-quality estate documents with modern, simple, and affordable solutions. They offer two comprehensive packages for individuals and couples: Will Only and Will + Powers of Attorney. With Epilogue, individuals can complete their estate planning in as little as 20 minutes and from the comfort of their own homes (and without any legal jargon). Plus, they offer support via email, phone, and live chat, to answer any questions that come up along the way.
Use code LOANSCANADA20 to receive $20 off the price of a Will.
Willful is a company founded on the idea that Wills should be simple and accessible. It is a DIY platform that itemizes the planning procedure. The structured method streamlines the process and removes the risk of confusion. It takes roughly half an hour to complete a Last Will and Testament, and a Power of Attorney.
Willful vs. Epilogue: A Comparison
|Cost (Will Only)||– Individual: $99||– Individual: $139*|
– Couple: $269*
|Cost (Will & Incapacity Documents)||– Individual: $189||– Individual: $199*|
– Couple: $329*
|Packages Offered||– Last Will and Testament|
– Power of Attorney for finance and property
– Power of Attorney for healthcare
|– Last Will and Testament|
– Power of Attorney for Property
– Power of Attorney for Personal Care
|Option to Name a Trust Company as Executor?||No||Yes|
|Ideal Utility||– Budget-friendly option|
– Focus on efficiency
|– Comprehensive services|
– Detailed estate needs
– Lawyer-quality documents (unlimited free update, printing service, payment plans available)
|Availability||– British Columbia|
– New Brunswick
– Nova Scotia
|– British Columbia|
– New Brunswick
– Nova Scotia
Epilogue Main Features
Meant to remain efficient without losing sight of the specifics, this company is popular for the quality of its Wills. It’s co-founded by two estate lawyers, and the culture shows in the branding. Many Wills have to go through the probate process, so it’s extremely important a Will offers comprehensive protection and can hold up in court, and Epilogue prides itself in this regard. It has several benefits, including:
Name A Professional Trust Company As Executor
Epilogue is the first and only Canadian online Will platform that provides individuals with the option to name a professional trust company as the executor of their Will. Epilogue works with RBC Royal Trust to make this process possible but there is no need to be a customer of RBC to take advantage.
The job of an executor is to ensure that all instructions in your Will are executed properly, administer your estate, and make sure all your affairs are in order. Some individuals may not wish to place this burden on a family member or friends, this is where naming a professional trust company as executor is a great option.
As life evolves and changes, you may need to change your Will or Powers of Attorney documents. With Epilogue, you can do so free of charge. It’s generally good practice to review your Will regularly to make sure it always reflects your current wishes.
Start The Process Online
As with most of its competition, this is an online service that allows you to complete the process of creating a Will quickly and from anywhere you choose. Contactless and convenient, it lets you complete a simple series of documents within less than half an hour. It has in-depth instructions to help add clarity to the process. Please note that in almost all provinces in Canada, Wills must be printed in a physical form and witnessed in order to be legally binding.
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Should you become unable to care for yourself, Epilogue offers incapacity documents and Last Will and Testament services. It offers Powers of Attorney for both healthcare and financial affairs. These documents come into effect should you become unable to care for yourself. Paired with the Will, these three documents are the trifecta of estate planning. It’s also the only solution that includes an Affidavit of Execution document with each Will printout.
Flexible Payment Options
Epilogue has many flexible payment options. Choose how you want to pay.
Once Epilogue has generated your Will, you can ask them to send you a physical copy by mail for an additional fee.
Separate Funeral and Burial Wishes Document
Epilogue includes a separate document with each Will printout where you can include your funeral and burial wishes for free.
Affidavit of Execution Document
An affidavit is a document that is signed by one of your witnesses in front of a Commissioner of taking affidavits. It’s used to confirm the validity of the Will. Each Epilogue Will comes with an Affidavit of Execution document for free.
Epilogue allows you to add a pet clause to your Will so that you can choose who will take care of your pet after you pass. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can plan for your pet’s care after you pass, check out Epilogue’s site here.
For those who wish to add one or more charities as beneficiaries in their Will, Epilogue offers this option. Charitable donations can be either a percentage of your estate or a set cash amount.
Willful Main Features
This digitally-hosted platform has an intuitive interface and is a good, modern option. From the website to the step-by-step approach, it is designed for speed without sacrificing quality. Among its features are:
Start The Process Online
Secure and speedy, Willful is a strictly digital platform. There is no in-person interaction. One of its main selling features is that you can get your Will completed in less than half an hour, from the comfort of your home. Entirely contactless, you can take care of this necessary financial chore anywhere you can get WiFi. Again, keep in mind your Will must still be printed and witnessed according to the rules of your provinces in order to be valid.
A feature of this service is the opportunity to specify your wishes for pets. It allows you to allocate funds to their care, along with declaring a legal guardian for the animal.
Though, if you have a large sum to leave to the charity you are likely to use a more comprehensive estate planning service, it’s still a nice feature. It lets you allocate a certain amount of money to a charity of your choosing. The service also lets you set aside a percentage for estate residuals. With that measure, even if it’s one percent, you can continue to contribute to a cause after death.
Your Last Will and Testament should be updated with any major changes in your estate. From marriages to divorces, children to real estate legislation, there are many reasons you may need to tweak your Will. Instead of paying every time something new arises, this service lets you take care of it free of charge.
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Compare Other Online Will Platforms
Epilogue vs. Willful: Costs
Each company offers plans ranging in price (but also in the service you get). When using an online service, it’s important to balance the price tag with the actual value of what you’re getting. If your needs are simple, then an online solution may work for you and the process can be very affordable. Conversely, if you have more detailed needs, it may be best to consult with a lawyer. We’ve broken down the pricing below:
There are four plans through this platform based on your particular needs: two for individuals and two for couples. The more robust plan includes the three essential documents for estate planning: the Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney for Personal Care, and Power of Attorney for Property (the Power of Attorney documents can have different names depending on the province). Here’s how the packages break down in terms of cost:
Will Only ($139 individual, $269 couples)
This package allows you to plan your estate through the allocation of property, identify caregivers for minor children, and plan any inheritance. Each package comes with a Funeral and Burial wishes document, an Affidavit of Execution document (if applicable in your province), and detailed signing instructions. The service enables you to make an infinite number of changes free of charge.
Will & Powers Of Attorney ($199 individual, $329 couples)
This plan offers all the benefits of the more basic counterpart, with the other two documents necessary in the event of incapacitation. One Power of Attorney is for health-related decisions, while the other is focused on financial matters These documents are where you name a substitute decision-maker should you ever be incapable of making decisions for yourself.
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This company has three main plans, designed to accommodate various budgets and family sizes. These include:
This plan is ideal for a single individual who wants a basic Will without Power of Attorney. It lets you indicate what happens to your assets, including property allocation. You can declare beneficiaries and your executor. It gives room to declare your final wishes, structure an inheritance, and plan for your children’s futures.
Though it is a bit more expensive than the basic package, this allows you to generate a Power of Attorney for both health care and financial assets. It lets you do all of the Will planning from the Essentials package, but also plan for medical issues or incapacitation. Unlike other arrangements, this option is ideal if the beneficiaries are not your spouse. It has more nuanced planning features and offers an extra two documents for a reasonable price.
Family (Starting at $329 for two adults)
You can use this option for up to six people. It offers all the services of the Premium package at a lower price due to the extra business. Ideal for couples, friends and family, or any group of people, it is cost-effective without foregoing quality. When you use the family plan, it lets both spouses mirror each other’s documents. It saves time and reduces complications.
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Wills In Canada: FAQs
Can I make changes to my Will?
How much does it cost to make a Will?
Using an online Will creation service ensures that you have an effective document to represent your true wishes. Legally binding, it’s surprisingly simple and affordable to make a Will and get a Power of Attorney online. The key is taking the leap and having these documents on record.
In the debate between Epilogue and Willful, both have some perks. They are both quick, easy, and cost-effective. So, the decision comes down to the service you find the most trustworthy. Whichever service you use, the most important thing is having the documents in place. With that task done, you can move on with real peace of mind.