Will kits are a dime a dozen, but is it the right fit for your estate planning needs?
The process and choices when it comes to making a will can feel overwhelming. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about will kits in Canada, so you can make the best choice for your own unique life situation.
First things first...
What Is A Will Kit?
A will kit is a fill-in-the-bank document that you can use to create your last will and testament. It typically allows you to fill in key information about your estate including who you are, who your executor would be, who would be guardians for your dependents, and any beneficiaries. The best comparison for a will kit is that it’s like Mad Libs, but for estate planning!
Are Home Will Kits Legal In Canada?
Yes - will kits are legal in Canada! However, it’s not the kit itself or how the will was made that makes it legal, but the signing and witnessing requirements. Once you’ve filled in the blanks with your information, you will need to sign and witness the will for it to be considered legally-binding.
While there are some variations in language and rule in each province, the general criteria for a legal will in Canada are:
- You must be of sound mind and over the age of majority in your province - There are some circumstances in some provinces, that allow you to make a will if you have not reached the age of majority (ie. marriage, have children, member of the armed forces)
- The will must be signed in wet ink, in the presence of two valid witnesses who must also sign to confirm - Any will that is typed (not holographic), must follow this requirement. Even if you have filled in the blanks in your will kit by hand, the typed/printed form falls under this category.
- Signed at the very end of the will - While not required, it is also good practice to initial each page.
- Stored as a physical copy - Only the original and physical copy of your will is valid. You cannot store your will online.
What Are The Pros Of A Will Kit?
The best type of will, is the one that works for your life situation. Depending on the complexity of your estate, a simple will kit may be a reasonable option for you. Will kits are a good choice for those who do not require or want to include any custom or specific requests in your will.
Some of the benefits of will kits are:
- Low cost - Will kits are typically low cost and under $50, depending on where you’ve purchased your kit. They are a good option if you are looking for a cost-saving option for making your will.
- No online tools required - You can often find a will kit at your local office supply store. This means you can finish your will without having to use any additional tools.
- No lawyer needed - If you have a simple estate, you may not need legal advice. In this situation, as long as you’ve signed and witnessed your will kit correctly, you have a valid will.
What Are The Cons Of A Will Kit?
One of the biggest downsides of DIY will kits is that they are very simple and one-size-fits-all. However, everyone is different and has a unique life situation. While will kits may be suitable for those with very simple wishes, they generally do not take into consideration any complexities, extra wishes, or even funeral wishes.
Some other concerns around will kits include:
- No Easy Updates - Your will is a living and breathing document. You’ll likely want to make changes as your life evolves. However, with DIY will kits, you’ll need to purchase a new template every time your life situation changes. Depending on how many changes you make, the costs can add up over time.
- Incorrect Witnessing - Having the right witnesses and following the correct signing procedures if what makes your will legally-binding. It’s important to make sure you’ve followed the rules around who can sign your will, in your specific province. Incorrect witnessing can result in issues with your estate in the future.
- Contradictions - the lack of flexibility in a will kit, leads many people to add additional comments onto their will. However, this can lead to contradictions in your will
- Lack Of Customization - As mentioned, will kits are typically fill-in-the-blank and do not allow for any additional customizations. Most individuals have life situations that would benefit from some level of additional personalization.
- Little To No Personalized Support - Most physical will kits are stand-alone kits without any additional customer support or instruction. This can leave you with no one to turn to if you have any questions along the way.
If you have decided a will kit is the right fit for you, it’s important to make sure that you’ve chosen a reputable kit that is up to date and includes the right information for your specific province!
What Makes Online Wills Better Than A DIY Will Kit?
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to a DIY will kit, it might be worth considering an online will. An online will platform, like Willful, is basically a will kit but better! How so? That’s a great question.
Online wills are essentially the best of both worlds. It combines the convenience of a will kit with some customization that you could expect from a trusted estate lawyer. However, they aren’t just simple fill-in-the-blank forms. Online will platforms are designed to walk you through the process from start to finish.
With Willful, we guide you through a series of questions designed to assess your life situation and your end-of-life wishes. After learning about your needs, our platform creates a customized document tailored to you.
Why Willful Is The Best Canadian Will Kit
Willful’s will plans start as low as $99 and include many unique features that you may not find from a will kit or other online will providers. Here are some reasons Willful is a great choice for your will:
- Free updates for life - We know your life changes over time, which is why Willful offers free lifetime updates. Feel confident knowing that you can change your will any time you need to.
- Legal documents created with estate lawyers - Willful has partnered with the top estate lawyers in each province to ensure we’re providing you with documents that are up-to-date and reflect your wishes.
- Personal phone, email, and chat support - If you have any questions about the platform or even estate planning in general, Willful’s team of experts are here to support you every step of the way.
- 30 day money back guarantee - We are confident in our documents, but we want you to be too! If you decide Willful doesn’t meet your estate planning needs, we’ll refund you within 30 days. No questions asked!
- Power of attorney documents - In addition to your will, we can also help you create your power of attorney documents to cover you in the event you become incapacitated
However, if you require specific legal advice or have a very complex estate, you may benefit from speaking to an estate lawyer. If you’re not sure if Willful is right for you, feel free to book a free call with our team.
Please note that Willful is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.
Other Common Questions:
Is There A Standard Government Of Canada Will Kit Or Form?
There is no standard form for a last will in testament in Canada. As long as you’ve met the requirements for a legal will, it will be valid. This means you can make your will by any means, including will kits or online wills.
In some provinces, the government provides downloadable will templates online. If you think a DIY will is suitable for your estate, it’s worth researching your provincial resources first!
Does A Will Kit Need To Be Notarized?
No, a will kit does not need to be notarized in Canada. As long as you’ve met the criteria, you have a legally-binding will.
However, if your estate needs to go through probate when you pass away, you will need an affidavit of execution. This document does need to be notarized, but it is not required for your will to be legal. It can be completed at a later date or even after you pass away.
If you use Willful, we will include specific instructions about completing your affidavit of execution with your documents.