Online wills in Canada
Creating a will is an essential part of estate planning, but many Canadians still haven't taken this crucial step. Online wills have emerged as a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional lawyer-drafted wills, but are they a suitable option for everyone? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of online wills in Canada, addressing common questions and concerns.
Are Online Wills Legal and Safe in Canada?
Yes, online wills are both legal and safe in Canada, as long as they meet certain criteria. To ensure the online will service you choose is legitimate and secure, make sure it:
- Protects your personal information using secure HTTPS protocol
- Stores data in Canadian data centers
- Uses experienced lawyers to create and vet their legal documents
- Offers ongoing customer support via phone, email, and live chat
However, it's essential to remember that while online wills are suitable for many people, they aren't for everyone. Individuals with more complex estate planning needs should consult a lawyer.
What Makes an Online Will Legal in Canada?
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.
What Types of Online Wills Are Available?
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.
Who Can Benefit from Making an Online Will?
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.
Who Should Avoid Making an Online Will?
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
Pros and Cons of Online Wills
- 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
Can an Online Will Be Contested in Court?
Any will, regardless of whether it was created online or by a lawyer, can be contested in court.
How to Update an Online Will
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.
Can I Store My Will Online?
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.
In Which Provinces Can I Make an Online Will?
Our online will platforms are available for residents of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.
Online wills are an affordable and convenient option for Canadians with simple estate planning needs. By understanding the legal requirements and ensuring you choose a secure and reputable service, you can create a valid will that protects your wishes and assets. Willskeeper can help you, Get Started Now.