What is a Will?
A will is a legal document where you can outline your end-of-life wishes. You can determine who will take over your hard-earned assets. You can also name key roles such as an executor (a legal representative named in a will to handle an estate when someone dies), guardian for minor children, or even a pet guardian.
Your will is a huge part of your financial wellness and estate planning. It puts a plan in place to help protect you and your loved ones – like buying insurance.
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Will?
Did you know that 18% of Canadians who don’t have a will say it’s because they think it’s too expensive? While wills can be pricey, they certainly don’t always have to be.
How you choose to make your will can have a significant impact on the cost. Here are some of the common types of wills in Canada and how much they cost.
Online estate planning tools are a simple and convenient way to get your legal will. You can create your personalized will from the comfort of your home and for a fraction of the cost of visiting a lawyer.
An online will in Canada is one of the easiest ways to get a comprehensive document at an affordable price. For example, Willful* has plans starting from as little as $79.20**, and they include power of attorney, asset lists, and will registration. Willful’s template documents are created in partnership with lawyers in each province, so you can feel confident your personalized documents reflect your wishes.
Creating an online will with Willful can also save you money and time in the long run by offering free unlimited updates. So, you can keep your will up to date as your life changes, without the cost of paying for a completely new will every time.
A lawyer-drafted will is the most comprehensive, but also the most expensive option.
For a simple will, you can expect to pay around $300-400 on average. For a will that covers more complex scenarios, it can range upwards of $1,100 – $1,400. You’ll likely also incur additional costs for add-ons like power of attorney documents. You can also expect to pay an additional fee every time you need to update your will.
Costs can also vary significantly, depending on if the lawyer charges a flat fee or bills by the hour.
While lawyers can be a great option for Canadians with more complicated estate needs, an online will option may be suitable for Canadians with relatively straightforward estates.
An online will kit is a fill-in-the-blank template that makes up your will. Often sold for around $50 or less, will kits are one of the cheapest ways to create your will. You will often find them sold at bookstores or office supply stores.
The benefit of a will kit is that you can complete it 100% offline, which some individuals may prefer. And they’re usually a solid solution for very simple estates.
However, will kits are typically designed to be one-size-fits-all, which means you might not get the personalization that you need. It’s also difficult to make revisions to will kits, so you’ll likely need to purchase a new kit every time you need to make a change. So, if you expect that you’ll need updates in the future, keep in mind that the costs may add up.
Handwritten or Holographic Will
If you’re looking for a super budget-friendly option, you can write a handwritten will for free. This is commonly known as a holographic will.
However, unless you’re an estate lawyer, most individuals don’t have the background and legal knowledge to write a will that adequately reflects their wishes. This can cause confusion or errors when it comes time to settle your estate. It’s also important to note that holographic wills must be written entirely by hand and cannot be typed out whatsoever.
Another benefit of holographic wills is that you don’t need witnesses. However, they will need to be rewritten any time you want to make changes, which can be burdensome.
How Do I Know Which Type of Will Is Right For Me?
Every individual’s life situation is unique, which means certain types of wills may be better suited to your needs. Some things outside of cost that you should consider when deciding which type of will to create:
- How complex is your estate? (For example, if you’re passing on a business, multiple properties, etc.)
- How often do you expect to update and change your will? (For example, if you expect to have kids, pets, or sell property you’ll likely prefer a solution with easy updates)
What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?
It can be tempting to save on the cost of creating a will. It might save you a few dollars in the short term. But you can end up passing along costs to your family that far exceed what you would have spent on creating a will in the first place.
If you don’t have a will, your estate will be divided according to provincial rules, which may mean that your assets and belongings end up in the hands of the wrong people. You also won’t have appointed a guardian for any minor children or an executor, which will be appointed by the courts instead. It’s important to note that provincial laws often don’t consider common-law partners or other loved ones, so it’s even more critical to have a will that outlines your intentions.
By not creating a will, you also miss out on the opportunity to minimize taxes on your estate and reduce probate fees. This can end up costing your family hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Finally, a will is meant to be a blueprint for your family after you pass away. Leaving them with the burden of guessing your wishes can be stressful, time-consuming, and may even cause family conflict.
Should I Get a Will?
Creating a will is the best way to make sure your wishes are honoured when you pass away. Fortunately, there are options – no matter your budget. Whether you choose to make an online will or visit a lawyer, it’s an important thing to do that can help protect you and your loved ones.
This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.
*Online will service called Willful (“Willful”) provided by Final Blueprint Inc. and offered through the website located at willful.co. Willful is not a law firm and does not provide any legal advice. If you need legal advice for your specific matter, or if your matter is too complex to be addressed by our tools, you should consult a licensed lawyer in your area.
**Terms and conditions and some restrictions may apply. Subject to eligibility. The amount of $79.20 is inclusive of discounts.
***Discount offer valid for purchases made online, within 45 days after signing-up, at willful.co and cannot be combined with any other offers. Note that Allstate referred customers can reactivate the discount after 45 days by clicking on the Allstate link to the willful.co site provided above and logging in. Terms and conditions and some restrictions may apply. Subject to eligibility. Offer subject to change without notice.
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