Best Online Will Kits in Canada and How to Get Your Will Set Up

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Last updated on June 8, 2022 Comments: 2

Online wills are popping up more and more these days. But, what is an online will and why do you need one?

You absolutely should have a will. A will allows you to decide how your estate will be distributed upon your death. If you don’t have a will, that decision is left up to the provincial government and the process ends up taking longer as well as being significantly more expensive. Having a signed and legally binding will ensures that your assets will go to who you want and the process will be completed in a timelier manner making it easier on the loved ones you are leaving behind. Creating a will is easier than ever these days as it can be done from the comfort of your own home thanks to online will kits.

Ready to learn more about online wills and the best will kit options available to Canadians?

Best Online Will Kits

There are several companies in Canada that offer online Will kits. Many also offer living will and power of attorney documents as well. These are our top picks for will kits in Canada.

Online Will KitBest For
WillfulFamiles/Couples
LegalWills.caCanadian Expats (US/UK)
FormalWill.caSimple Wills and Pet Wills Canada-wide
Epilogue WillsIn-Depth, Lawyer-Quality Documents

Willful

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This service, currently available to Canadians in several provinces (including Quebec), offers standalone wills ($99), as well as packages including a will, power of attorney and living will ($189). There’s also a family plan ($329 for 2 adults) that most couples seem to like. This plan creates legally valid wills and allows you to appoint a power of attorney for you and your family. All the documents can be updated at any time for free.

  • Availability: Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick
  • Special Features: Offers a family plan (covers up to 6 people). Willful is also available to residents of Quebec, which many online will kits are not.
  • Costs: $99-$329+

Use Promo Code GREEDYRATES for a $20 Bonus with Willful or learn more by reading our complete Willful review.

LegalWills.ca

LegalWills

Available to all Canadians outside of Quebec, this service offers wills ($39.95 individual; $63.92 mirror wills for couples), powers of attorney ($29.95), and living wills ($19.95), as well as wills for Canadian expats who hold assets in the U.S. or the U.K. The documents can be updated for free within one year, with additional costs for storing and updating the documents over longer periods.

  • Availability: All Canadians except for residents of Quebec
  • Special Features: Offers wills for Expats with UK or US Assets and offers living wills as an option.
  • Costs: $19.95-$63.92

Click here to get an online will with LegalWills.ca

FormalWill.ca

FormalWill

This national service provides wills ($59), powers of attorney ($39) and living wills ($39), with updates offered through the “peace of mind” bonus, annually. The FormalWill platform is flexible and offers mostly everything you need to create a simple will. Though this service is less expensive than the latter (Willful), it is also less comprehensive and offers less features that you might need.

  • Availability: Canada-wide
  • Special Features: Wills are tailored to the province or territory you live in. Also, for an additional fee you can have a lawyer review your will.
  • Costs: $39-$249

Click here to get an online will with FormalWill.ca

Epilogue Wills

Apply Now

Epilogue Wills offer both Wills and Powers of Attorney for individuals and couples. Wills are priced at $139 per individual ($229 per couple) and Powers of Attorney plus a will is $179 per individual ($289 per couple). Epilogue Wills was created by two individuals who have a background in estate planning and practiced as estate lawyers and they have plenty of helpful information and learning assets on their website as well discussing topics such as pets, beneficiaries, executors, and more.

  • Availability: Currently, Epilogue is available in all English speaking provinces including: Ontario Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (Wills Only)
  • Special Features: Social media wills so you can decide what to do with your online profiles when you pass on, only online wills that deal with RESPs, founded by two estate lawyers with a decade of real-world experience.
  • Cost: $139-$298

Use Promo Code GREEDYRATES20 for a $20 Bonus with Epilogue or learn more by reading our complete Epilogue review.

Epilogue does not provide legal or any other professional advice, such as accounting, or tax advice.

Different Types of Online Will Kits

Wills are not a one-size-fits-all type of document. There are several different types of wills possible in Canada ranging from international wills to military wills. That being said, the most common types of wills offered are individual wills, mirrored wills, and living wills.

  • Individual: As the name implies, this is a will for one person, either single or married. If you and your spouse have very different desires as to how you would want your assets divided, you would want to specify those in two separate individual wills.
  • Mirrored: A mirrored will is used by spouses, where each names the other as the main heir or beneficiary, and outlines an alternate plan if both happen to die at the same time. There is a separate “mirror” document for each spouse, but because the terms are so similar, it is usually cheaper than drawing up two individual wills. (Joint wills, which would include instructions for both spouses on one document, are not offered by any online will service in Canada.)
  • Living: A living will allows you to state your wishes in case of an emergency that will impact your ability to make your own decisions. For example, if you are in a coma or unable to give your consent on your healthcare. Living wills cover your health care and allow you to appoint someone (or multiple people) to act on your behalf for healthcare matters should you be unable to do so.

Online Will Kit Costs

Online Will KitWillfulLegalWills.caFormalWill.caEpilogue Wills
Costs$99-$329+$39.95-$129.95$39-$249$139-$289
Types of Wills- Legal will
- Power of attorney
- Living Will
- Family Plan
- Legal will
- Mirror will
- Power of attorney
- Living will
- Expatriate wills
- Legal will
- Power of attorney
- Living Will
- Pet Will
- Lawyer Review available for all wills
- Legal will
- Powers of attorney

The cost for online kits will vary depending on the company you choose to go with as well as what type of will you choose and if you also plan on adding a power of attorney document. Based on the options we listed above, these prices will range from $39 for a living will to $329 for a couples will and power of attorney document.

Even if you choose the most expensive online will kit, you are still saving yourself hundreds of dollars. Simple Wills in Canada tend to cost a minimum of $800-$1,000 per individual so there is no doubt that online Will kit costs are the most budget friendly.

How to Write an Online Will

Creating an online will is easy and, as indicated earlier, can often be done in about 20 minutes. Here is a breakdown of the process you will follow with an online will kit.

  1. Identify an executor. This is the person you choose to carry out the terms of your will, so you’ll want it to be someone you trust—such as a spouse, child or close family friend.
  2. Choose guardian(s). If you have minor children, this is who will take legal, moral and financial responsibility for them if you and your spouse pass away. You can also select someone to take care of any pets you have.
  3. Name beneficiaries. These are all the people and/or organizations to whom you want to bestow your assets. This can include your spouse/common-law partner, children, other relatives or dependents, friends, neighbors, charities or any other individual or organization that you choose. You will also specify how you want your estate divided among these beneficiaries, including any bequests, which are specific items (e.g., jewelry, clothing, art, heirlooms) that you want to give as gifts.
  4. Select powers of attorney (if applicable). If your online will package includes a power of attorney or living will, name someone you trust to make financial or health related decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
  5. Leave instructions for your funeral, if desired.
  6. Print out and sign in front of two witnesses. The online platform may even help you choose the right witnesses, as they must be people who will not receive any benefit from your estate. It’s also mandatory to sign in ink. Digital signatures will not be accepted for online wills.

Pros and Cons of Online Wills

Pros

  • Online wills are affordable and hundreds of dollars cheaper than using an estate lawyer.
  • Online wills can be done on your schedule from the comfort of your home.
  • Online wills are fast and easy. Most only take about 20 minutes to complete.

Cons

  • Online wills are best for simple wills and not complicated estates.
  • No professional insight from a lawyer to help mitigate estate taxes.
  • It’s dependent on you to securely store your will (and let people know where it is!)

Alternatives to Online Will Kits

Of course, there are many alternatives to online wills, including other DIY options. Here’s how they compare.

Holograph Wills

This is a handwritten will that you prepare yourself. Because it is in your handwriting, you do not need to have witnesses sign it. This type of will is best suited for someone who has a legal background, as they know what to include and how to word it. In order for this to be considered legal in Canada, the entire document should be written and signed in your handwriting. However, keep in mind, Holographic wills are not legally accepted across Canada. Only certain provinces will recognize them as valid.

Pros:

  • Holographic wills are technically free since you are responsible to write them yourself.
  • Holographic wills don’t require the same witness signatures as other wills.

Cons:

  • You won’t receive any help or guidance when writing a holographic will. It’s up to you to ensure you write it properly and include everything you need.
  • Holographic wills are not accepted in all parts of Canada.

DIY Will Kit

This is a low-cost paper template you can purchase from most office supply stores. It uses a fill-in-the-blank format and needs your signature along with that of two witnesses to be legally binding. This type of will is best for those who have some comfort level with legal documents, as it does not include any guidance or explanation and is one-size-fits-all.

Pros:

  • DIY will kits are very inexpensive, often less than $40 per will.
  • DIY wills are incredibly easy. They essentially follow a “fill-in-the-bank” type template.

Cons:

  • Because they follow a template, DIY wills are ‘one size fits all’ which means they may not suit your needs if you have a more complicated estate.
  • Despite being easy to create, DIY wills are not easy to update which is something to be aware of, especially for younger individuals who still have lots of potential for life circumstances to change.

Wills with Estate Lawyers

For those with complex estates who need the advice of a legal professional, this is the way to go, but it is expensive. Even those with simple estates will pay $800 or more for a will that is drawn up by a lawyer. It is no doubt, however, that this is the best option for complex will creation and ensuring all your wishes are carried out properly.

Pros:

  • Suitable for all types of estates include the complex ones which DIY Will kits and online kits do not cover.
  • As professionals, lawyers have tips and advice and can guide you as to how to minimize estate fees and taxes if required.

Cons:

  • The most expensive option when it comes to wills. Creating a will with an estate lawyer will cost $800+.
  • Not a very convenient option. You have to work around their schedule and office hours.

Are Online Wills Legal?

Yes. There are actually very few criteria for a will to be legal in Canada. The document must be:

  1. Written by an adult of sound mind – That means being at least the age of majority in your province, and well enough to make decisions for yourself.
  2. Have a “wet” signature – All wills, including online wills, must be paper documents signed with ink; digital signatures or photocopies are not legally binding.
  3. Be witnessed – Two third-party witnesses (who are not family or mentioned in your will) must watch you sign your will, and sign the document to indicate they have done so.

Any will that conforms to all the above criteria is considered legal in Canada.

Tips for Writing an Online Will

Here are important tips for writing a will

ImageSource: Shutterstock

If you think an online will works for your situation, then it is definitely worth pursuing. That being said, there are a couple of things you should be aware of before you start.

Firstly, make sure you choose an online will kit that will allow you to update your will. Things change regularly in life and, over time, you will likely need to make changes to your will to reflect that.

Secondly, discuss your decisions as needed in advance. If you are going to name someone as the guardian of your pet or children, then they need to know and agree in advance. Similarly, you should ask someone to be your executor before just appointing them.

Thirdly, consider creating a power of attorney document and/or living will in conjunction with your will. If you are going to take care of this, you may as well be thorough.

Next, take note of the rules. Again, your online will must be signed in ink to be legally binding. Also, make sure to store it in a safe place and notify others where that is. It won’t do anyone any good if they can’t find it.

Finally, make sure your will is being updated as your life situation changes. Marriage, divorce, children, assets and much more will determine how your wishes change, so your will needs to reflect that.

Final Word

For many Canadians with simple estates, an online will is a cost-effective and convenient alternative to a lawyer, who might charge upwards of $1,000 to prepare wills and powers of attorney. The convenience of creating a will in less than a half-hour without ever leaving your home is certainly better than the alternative of wondering what might happen to your estate and family if you die without a will.

But even online will providers caution that their services are not for everyone. If, for example, you want to set conditions as to when and how assets might be passed on to minor children, you should see a lawyer to help you create and administer a trust. Similarly, if you are remarried, you might want to create a trust so your spouse can be looked after for as long as they live (or until they remarry), and then have remaining assets go to your children. These complex arrangements cannot be easily accommodated in an online will. However you want to divide your will, make sure you set your intentions clearly and regularly update your will in order to avoid a will contest or any complications after your passing.

FAQs

If you have assets or children, you need a will to outline your wishes for what happens to them when you die. Otherwise, the court will decide for you, and it could take months or even years to settle your estate.
No. So long as your will is a paper document signed by you in ink, as well as by two independent witnesses who will not benefit from your estate, your will is legally binding.
Those with simple estates who want an affordable and convenient legal option would benefit from an online will in Canada.
People with complex estates and/or family situations (e.g., blended families, estranged children, disabled dependents) should seek advice from an estate lawyer.

Recommended Read: What is Estate Planning?

Author Bio

Tamar Satov
Tamar Satov is an award-winning journalist specializing in personal finance and parenting. Her work has appeared in Canadian Living, The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, Parents Canada, Walmart Live Better and many other consumer magazines and websites. She is the former Managing Editor of CPA Magazine, for Canada’s Chartered Professional Accountants, and contributes to other publications for finance professionals including FORUM, for Canada’s financial advisors. Tamar is also a big proponent of financial literacy and had a long-running popular blog on the topic, sharing advice and anecdotes on her efforts to raise a money-smart kid. She lives debt-free in Toronto, with her husband and son.

Article comments

2 comments
Kat says:

Very complete article! Would be interesting to see what you are thinking of Willflora in comparaison with the other online will service you have mentioned

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Kat,
Unfortunately, I haven’t come across Willflora before. Do you have some materials or website that you could share about the service?