Sharing urban legends is a great form of storytelling around the campfire. What’s also great? Getting the truth!
Telling stories about ghosts or aliens are fun ways to scare your friends and family. They’re also not true—we hope!
Over the years, wills have gotten a rep for things that aren’t exactly true. And these myths are often the cause.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions you hear about wills:
MYTH #1: You’re Too Young To Create A Will
Truth is, having a will is still important whether or not you own a lot of financial assets. Although you might be young, you can never be too prepared.
Once you become the age of majority (usually 18 or 19), it’s never too early to create a will!
You want to make sure that your loved ones know what to do in the event you pass away. Like for something as simple as instructions for your burial wishes or what to do with your social media accounts.
Things can happen unexpectedly no matter how old you are. By making a will, you can be ready, be protected, and have a peace of mind.
MYTH #2: You Won’t Need A Will If You’re Going To Leave It All To Your Partner
If you die without a will, your estate is distributed based on your provincial laws.
This can often include people like your spouse and your kids. But, it also means you don't have full control over what happens to your stuff or who it goes to.
For example, many provinces don't account for common-law partners—or even other loved ones—which could leave them vulnerable. This could result in them not receiving the gifts or assets you would have liked them to have!
Plus, a will can often make the legal process faster, easier, and more cost-effective when it comes to settling your estate.
MYTH #3: All Your Debts Will Go To Your Family When You Pass Away
While debt doesn’t just disappear after you die, it doesn’t mean it’ll get passed down to your loved ones either. Your executor is responsible for paying off your debts with your estate.
This means that if you have debt, no one else but your estate will pay for it.
So if you name beneficiaries in your will, they won’t be held accountable for your debts. The only exception is if they're jointly named on a loan.
But if you don’t have enough residual estate to cover your debts, it will go through the process of abatement. Which basically means that some monetary gifts you left to them will be reduced. That way, your estate can cover your debts.
If your estate doesn’t have enough money to cover all your debts, then it’ll become insolvent. Which basically means your debts won’t be paid out in full to your lenders.
And no–they still can’t chase after the people named in your will.
Wrapping up your estate is a lot of work. And without a will, your executor would need to run around to find out your information all on their own. By having a will with your instructions ready to go, it just makes life easier for them–no matter the extent of your debts.
MYTH #4: You Have To Be Wealthy To Need A Will
There are so many reasons why you should have a will. And most of them aren’t about money!
Settling an estate can mean more than just dividing up your financial assets. Which doesn’t just affect you. It affects everyone who’s around you.
Like, putting someone in charge of taking care of your pets or children if you die. Or even leaving instructions on where to find your final letters written to your loved ones. These are conversations you should have with your loved ones ahead of time, so that they can be ready for when the time comes.
Not sure how to bring up tough topics? Here’s some questions you can ask yourself and your loved ones.
MYTH #5: Estate Planning Is Expensive
This is a common myth we hear all the time. But it doesn’t have to be expensive.
In fact, in Canada you don’t even need a lawyer to make a will. You could theoretically even make a holographic will for free.
But on the other hand, you might find that the estate procedures after you pass away are surprisingly more expensive. Especially for your loved ones, considering the hidden taxes and fees that can apply on top of the legal costs when you die without a will.
A great way to get a legal and comprehensive will is through an online will company like Willful. You can save hundreds of dollars by using Willful—from the comfort of your own home!
Worried that estate planning is still expensive? Start for free today!
MYTH #6: You Need A Lawyer To Make A Will
We hear this one all the time–but nope! As long as you meet the requirements, your will is legal.
Generally, as long as the will is written by you, signed with wet ink—unless you’re in British Columbia—witnessed by two people and signed… you have a legal will!
Want more details? Check out the requirements of how to make a legally valid will here.
MYTH #7: It Takes Too Long To Create A Will
Actually, it might take longer for your executor to wrap up your estate!
By using an online platform like Willful to create your legal documents, a will can be generated in as little as 20 minutes! This saves you from waiting weeks for a lawyer to draft one for you.
It can take as long as 12-18 months after someone passes away to finish up estate administration. Which is pretty lengthy compared to the time it takes to create a will.
Having a will can reduce all these legal hurdles for your loved ones after you pass away. And it gives you a peace of mind, knowing that they’ll have more time to grieve and spend less time dealing with your estate on their own.
MYTH #8: You Can’t Update Your Will
Wills aren’t a one-and-done deal.
Things can happen throughout your life that you might want reflected in your will, like getting married or adopting a pet.
There are many ways to make updates to your will, including:
- Making a new will
- Creating a codicil
- Or updating it through an online estate planning platform
Through Willful, you’ll get free, unlimited updates whenever you want. All you need to do is print, sign, and witness your new will!
The Bottom Line
As complicated as creating wills may seem, they’re actually often misunderstood! Wills aren’t tall tales or myths to be told. They’re blueprints for your loved ones, your wishes, and your plans for when the time comes.
Here’s some truth. Creating your will is easy! Get started here →