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What is The Cost of a Will in Ontario in 2024?

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    Making a will gives you peace of mind knowing your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and your dependents will be looked after by a guardian that you can rely on to care for them. 

    Creating your will is a lot easier – and more affordable – than you might think! In this article, we’ll explore the cost of a will in Ontario, the different ways you can make a will, and which option may be the best for your own situation.

    Average cost of a will in Ontario

    How much does a standard will cost in Ontario?

    Depending on what type of will you create and how complex it is, the average cost of making a will in Ontario can range from $0 to $500 CAD. Here’s a breakdown of different types of wills and their average costs for a simple will for one person:

    Holographic will DIY will kit Willful Other online will platforms Lawyer
    Made with pen and paper A pre-printed will with fill-in-the-blanks to fill in your information An online will approved by lawyers in your province and customized to your situation and wishes An online fill-in-the-blank will, which depending on the provider, may or may not be lawyer-approved or customizable A simple will created by a legal professional who can tailor it to your situation and give you legal advice on how best to delegate your estate
    $0 Under $50 $99 $40 to $139 $500

    How much do estate lawyers charge for a will?

    According to the most recent Canadian Lawyer legal fees survey, the average cost for a simple will made by a lawyer in Ontario is $503. If you have a complex estate or would like to make custom clauses in your will, a lawyer may charge you around $1,000.

    🇨🇦 Across the country The average cost for a simple will made with a lawyer in Canada is $624. Complex wills drafted by a lawyer cost an average of $2,242 per person.

    Factors influencing the cost of a will in Ontario

    There are a few factors that can affect the cost of your will, including the number of adults creating wills, estate and will complexity, type of will, where you’re located, or whether you’re bundling your will with other estate planning documents.

    • The number of wills being made: Each adult needs to make their own will. Sometimes a lawyer or other service may charge the same for each will. With Willful’s Premium x 2 plan, you save on each will instead.
    • Estate & will complexity: Things that make your estate complex can include family status, for example, being separated but not divorced from your spouse, wanting to create a trust other than a testamentary trust or a specific type of testamentary trust (Henson Trust, Spousal Trust, etc.), creating dual wills, disinheriting family members, or adding complex clauses. 
    • Type of will: Depending on your wishes and situation, certain types of wills may be more suitable than others. For example, Willful is a great solution for simple estates and wills, while lawyers are great for estates where you need tailored legal advice or complex clauses. Holographic wills are simple as well, though you cannot use any mechanical device (such as a computer, typewriter, smartphone, etc.)  to make them and must write the will entirely by hand.
    • Location: While holographic wills are the most affordable type of will, they are not legal in certain parts of Canada, like BC or PEI. The average cost of a lawyer can also vary from region to region as well. 
    • Part of estate plan package: You may receive a discount if you purchase your will as part of an estate plan package with power of attorney documents, asset lists and more. See Willful’s complete estate plan options here, starting at $189 →

    Average costs of wills and trusts in Ontario

    The average cost of a will in Ontario is around $503, while the average cost of a living trust is significantly higher at around $1,000 or more. This is because wills can range from basic, fill-in-the-blank templates to complex, multi-faceted documents, whereas trusts involve more legal complexity. Living trusts also require more time and effort from lawyers to set up and administer, resulting in higher costs.

    Avoid these hidden costs when making your will

    Expensive updates

    Updating your will with a lawyer can cost hundreds of dollars each time you update, especially if you’re creating an entirely new will instead of a codicil or an amendment.

    With Willful, you can make unlimited updates to your will and estate planning documents anytime, anywhere, for free.
    Notarization

    Notarizing your will, which can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 per document, allows you to add validity to it as a legal document. The process includes having an Affidavit of Execution notarized or commissioned, indicating that the facts contained in it are true. This provides the same effect as swearing under oath in a court of law.

    While this can be helpful, it’s important to note that you do not need to have your will notarized for it to be legal. As long as you complete your will according to the requirements of your province or territory, your will is a valid legal document.
    Unexpected executor fees

    Unless otherwise stated in the will or influenced by other factors, executor compensation in Ontario is typically equal to approximately 5% of the total value of the estate. This means that if you had an estate valued at $100,000 and your executor successfully performed their duties and settled the estate, they would receive a maximum of $5,000 compensation.

    Executor fees and probate fees are both paid out of the estate. This means they can inadvertently eat into the assets you want to give to beneficiaries. To control this, you can plan ahead and declare exactly how much compensation your executor should receive in your will.

    How to choose the right solution for you

    Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the different types of wills available to you in Ontario, which one should you choose? 

    Questions to ask yourself before deciding

    1. How complex are my assets and financial situation?

    If you think you may need a lawyer’s advice to navigate complex assets and laws related to your assets, you may want to create a will with a lawyer. Whereas if you have a simple estate and straightforward wishes, a DIY kit or online will platform may work perfectly.

    2. Do I have any unique family circumstances or wishes that need to be addressed?

    If your family dynamic contains blended families, estranged relatives, or dependents that you’d like to establish Henson trusts for, a lawyer may be the most helpful for your needs. But if you just want a testamentary trust for beneficiaries until they reach a certain age, you can easily create one with a Willful will.

    3. What is my budget?

    If you know exactly what you want to state in your will and know how to write it in a way that reflects your wishes, a holographic will is the most affordable type of will you can make. But if you can afford it, you’ll get more accessibility and better guidance with an online will platform like Willful. If you have a bigger budget, an estate lawyer can guide you through the estate planning process, give you advice on your estate, and draft your will for you too.

    4. How quickly do I need my will to be prepared?

    If time is of the essence, a holographic will may be your quickest option. You could also get your will done with Willful in as little as 20 minutes, start to finish, or use a lawyer who can accommodate urgent situations.

    5. How much personal guidance and legal advice do I need in the process?

    If you need the maximum level of guidance and legal advice, a lawyer can be very helpful. If you’d like legal information but not personalized advice, Willful easily guides you through your documents and has a team of certified estate planning experts you can reach by phone, chat, or email.

    Create your will with Willful

    Willful is an online will platform that offers personalized and comprehensive estate planning documents in an easy, affordable, and accessible way. To date, we’ve helped Canadians create over 300,000 documents.

    If you choose to make your will with Willful, you pay $99 and get:

    • A will approved by lawyers in your province
    • Free unlimited updates to your will
    • Access to an estate planning certified support team
    • Free registration with the Canada Will Registry ($40 value)
    • 30-day money-back guarantee

    Making a will is an essential part of creating your estate plan. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, but you can make the most of today by documenting your wishes and giving yourself – and your loved ones – peace of mind. 

    The easiest way to create your legal will in Ontario. Start yours for free →

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