Yes, online wills are both legal and safe in Canada, as long as they meet certain criteria, which WillsKeeper have implemented in the platform.
For an online will to be legally valid in Canada, it must meet the following criteria:
- The testator (the person making the will) must be the age of majority in their province.
- The testator must be of sound mind and aware of what they are doing.
- The will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries of the estate.
- The witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator.
As long as these conditions are met, an online will is considered legally valid, regardless of whether it was created by a lawyer or not.
There are various types of online wills available to suit different needs:
An individual will allows the testator to specify a single person or multiple people to inherit their property and assets in Canada, as well as outside of Canada.
Mirrored wills are created for couples who wish to have similar wills, typically leaving their estate to each other and then to their children or other beneficiaries.
A living will is a type of medical directive specifying what treatments are desired or refused if the testator becomes unable to make decisions for themselves due to illness, injury, or old age.
Online wills are suitable for individuals with simple estate planning needs. This includes those who:
- Own property in Canada
- Have assets or investments in Canada
- Have children
- Have pets and want to assign a guardian or leave a part of their estate for their care
- Want to leave specific gifts or assets to beneficiaries
- Want to leave a cash gift or a percentage of their estate to charity
- Are single, legally married, divorced, or in a common-law relationship
In general, online wills are sufficient for about 90% of Canadians.
Individuals with more complex estate planning needs should consult a lawyer. This includes those who:
- Want to exclude a spouse or child from their will
- Have a child with a disability receiving government benefits
- Need sophisticated tax planning or have property outside Canada
- Need to set up a Henson trust or a Life Interest trust
- Have a blended family
- Cost-effective compared to hiring a lawyer
- Convenient and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection
- Easy to update as life circumstances change
- Simplified process with guidance through important questions
- Not suitable for individuals with complex estate planning needs
Any will, regardless of whether it was created online or by a lawyer, can be contested in court.
One of the benefits of online wills is the ease of updating. If your life circumstances change, such as marriage, divorce, or having a child, you can quickly make the necessary changes to your will. However, it's essential to remember that when you update your will, you must print and sign it correctly for it to be legally binding. Make sure to inform your executor of any updates and store the new will in a safe place. At Willskeeper, we offer unlimited free changes for life.
Canadian law currently does not support the online storage of wills. Regardless of how your will was created, it must be printed, signed, and stored in a safe place. Inform your executor of the will's location so they can access it when needed.
Our platform is available for residents of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.
Will is a legal document that sets out how you intend your estate to be handled after your death. Your Will comes into effect only upon your death. During your lifetime, you can change your Will as often as you wish. Without a Will, the courts gets to decide who manages your estate, how to divide your assets, and who to care for your minor children.
Your Will does not deal with all the property which you may own at your death. For example, the following property which you might own would not be part of your estate governed by your Will:
- Any property you own jointly with another person as true joint tenants;
- Any property such as an RRSP or life insurance policy in which you have designated a beneficiary; and
- Any trusts established while you are still living.
To make a valid Will you must be over the age of majority in your province and have testamentary capacity. This means you must understand:
- what a Will is and understands that it will be legally binding upon your death;
- what property you own and its approximate value; and
- to whom you owe a legal or moral obligation to look after if you should die.
Your Will may be invalid if anyone has forced you to make your Will a certain way. Your Will may also be invalid if, at the time you make it, you suffer from any insane delusions affecting your powers of reason or judgment or if you lack testamentary capacity.