If you don’t have a last will and testament, you’re not alone. A recent survey by TD Bank found that more than half of Canadians don’t have a one. I was among the will-less until recently when I was invited to try Willful, a new Canadian tech company that provides fast, affordable online wills in less than 20 minutes.
A few years ago, I was hospitalized after uncovering severe blood clots in my right leg and my lungs. This, naturally, scared the pants off me and prompted me to consider end-of-life planning. Still, I did not action creating a last will and testament due to the perceived hassle and cost.
November is “Make a Will Month,” according to the Ontario Bar Association, so I decided to get on board and give Willful a try.
On first impression, the website is a professional yet contemporary design, a far cry from its competitors, which appear outdated and frankly, not pretty. And the pleasant Willful experience carries on from there.
First, the site asks a series of questions to help determine what plan best fits your needs. There are three options:
- The Essentials ($99): One last will and testament.
- Premium ($150): One last will and testament, and one power of attorney for personal care and property.
- Couples ($250): Two last will and testaments, and one power of attorney for personal care and property.
The reported savings enjoyed by Willful customers range from $200-$850 over using an estate lawyer, depending on the plan you choose.
Willful delivers on its promise to deliver a will and testament in less than 20 minutes. Mine and my husband’s took less than 15 minutes under the couples plan.
The will creation process is straightforward and you easily set up an executor and trustee, allocate your estate among beneficiaries, and outline any special gifts to be endowed or final wishes.
You can similarly easily assign a power of attorney and outline your healthcare wishes, such as pull the plug or prolong life, and whether you want to be cremated or buried, among other options.
These decisions may not come easily, but they’re necessary to make your wishes clear. And where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Closing things off
This part is very important. Unfortunately, you can’t digitally sign a last will and testament; Canadian law dictates your will has to be printed, signed, and stored as a hard copy.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lawyer to create or sign off on your last will and testament or power of attorney. However, there are a few procedures that must be followed to make your documents legally binding:
- Your documents have to be signed by you and two competent adult witnesses who are both present at the same time.
- The original hard copy of your signed documents need to be stored in a safe place where your executor or a family member can access them.
One of Willful’s best features is that you can login and edit your will and/or power of attorney documentation at any time. You just have to make sure that you follow the signing process outlined above again.
Suggested product improvements
All in all, Willful is wonderful. But there’s always room for improvement. Here’s a list of features I would add to future product releases:
- Provisions for pets. For many Canadians like myself, it would be nice to be able to set up special provisions for our fur babies.
- Partner collaboration. Under the couples plan, Willful could look into enhanced functionality around collaborative planning and dual logins.
- Online storage and sending. Even though Canadians are not permitted to digitally sign a will, it would still be nice to be able to upload a signed copy to a secure Willful server with login access that can be shared with your Executor and family members. Even though you need to save and store a hard copy of your will, if for whatever reason it goes missing, I would imagine an online version is better than nothing.
These however, are minor tweaks. On the whole, I like what Willful is doing, and it’s a product/service I can get behind.
In fact, I asked Willful for a discount code for Ratehub.ca users, and they obliged. Give it a try yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below.
DISCOUNT CODE: ratehub (15% off, expires Dec. 8, 2017)
Note: Willful currently operates in Ontario, with plans to expand to British Columbia and Alberta in the near future.
The author was given a free will from Willful as part of this review.
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