Do you and your family feel prepared for the unpredictable?
Why thousands of Canadians are rushing to create their wills and power of attorney documents online this year
Over 35,000 legal wills and power of attorney documents created from the safety and comfort of home with Willful - an online estate planning platform.
You've probably noticed the headlines this year: with everything going on in the world, conversations about death and wills are coming out of the shadows and into the same realm as financial planning, insurance, taxes and emergency preparation.
"I know I need a will, but I'll just do it later."
The problem with "later" is that it is not guaranteed. Life is unpredictable, and for what you cannot predict, you can prepare.
When COVID-19 hit Canada in mid-March, it was like a flip switched for Canadians. Where previously we had to convince procrastinators to finish their will - or to care about estate planning in the first place - all of a sudden we had a massive influx of traffic and purchases from people who were understandably scared and anxious and who wanted to get emergency planning documents in place. Willful's traffic and purchases jumped over 500% at the same time people were panic shopping for toilet paper and pantry items.
"I don't need a will, my family will know what to do."
With over 57% of Canadians (according to an AngusReid survey commissioned by Willful) reporting they do not have a will, this assumption means there are millions of families that have to do guess work, navigating legal jargon, accumulating administration fees and waiting on the slow-moving regulatory bodies to close up a loved one's affairs. That shocking number increases to 65% for parents of minor children (under 18).
"What happens if I die without a will?"
If you die without a will, you’re considered to have died intestate. This means that while the government doesn’t automatically get your estate, it does get to use provincial laws to decide how to distribute your estate and appoint your executor.
Your estate includes all of your assets (anything you possess of financial or other value) and any debts. What happens with your estate varies from province to province and it may be very different from what you would have wanted since the government doesn’t take into account the specific needs of individual families.
"If you have no immediate family surviving you, provincial law may dictate that your estate go to distant relatives — someone you barely knew or possibly estranged family." Erica Alini, Global News
"How does a will help my loved ones?"
You need a will in order to decide who your assets go to, who will be your executor and if you have kids, who will step in as their guardian to take care of them
When you die without a will, you’ve died intestate and your estate will be distributed to your next of kin by the government using provincial laws - and it may be very different from how you would have wanted
Dying without a will creates a lot of work and stress for the loved ones you leave behind
Dying without a will leaves a common-law-spouse without a right to a share of the estate without making a claim against the estate
Willful in the news:
"Willful’s motto is “Online wills made easy,” and it was clearly designed with the user experience in mind."
- Robb Engen, Toronto Star