A will, put quite simply, is a legal document that determines how you want your estate to be divided once you die. For parents, it’s also one of the most important things you can have to ensure your child is taken care of by the people you want, and the way you want, should anything happen to you.
It can be stressful and challenging to think about this kind of planning, but at the same time, a will gives you the ability to designate someone you love or trust to care for your children if you’re not there to raise them until they are legal adults. A will also gives you the opportunity to designate a trustee to manage the money you’ve set aside for your children until they reach the age you’ve outlined in your will.
What do I need to think about before starting?
So, now you know why you should have a will, but what do you do next? Here are a few things you’ll want to do to get started:
- Make a list of any items of sentimental and/or monetary value that you’d like to leave to a specific person.
- Decide exactly what will go to who and in some cases with a minor, at what age.
- Choose guardian(s) for your children. (Talk to them about it first to make sure they are up for the task!)
- Designate an executor to carry out your wishes, handle any assets you leave your children, and handle the necessary paperwork and administrative tasks to close your estate after you die. This person can be your guardian or another individual you trust.
- Decide your preferences for life-prolonging treatment and pain relief in the event that you become incapacitated, so you don’t leave your loved ones wondering what you would have wanted. This will inform your decisions if you are creating your Power of Attorney documents.
- Determine a safe place to keep all of your important information together—such as insurance, banking, mortgage information and paperwork. Login information to all your important accounts is also a good idea. Make sure these documents are accessible in the event of an emergency. In other words, don’t lock them up in a safety deposit box that only you have access to.
How do I go about getting a will?
The next step is actually getting your will. It’s safe to say that this can be confusing and difficult right now, due to the uncertain times we’re living in. While there are many options such as working with an estate lawyer, one great option is to try an online service, like Willful.
Willful is a self-service estate planning tool that makes it affordable, convenient and easy for Canadians to create a legal will online. Right from your home, you can:
- Assign guardians for your children and plan for their inheritance
- Appoint personal representatives to carry out your financial and healthcare wishes in the event you are incapable of doing so
- Put in writing how you want your estate to be distributed to loved ones or charities
If you’re interested in taking that first step to creating your will and Power of Attorney documents, you can get started by answering a guided questionnaire designed to generate your custom legal documents from the comfort of home. Answering the questions is free, and you only pay when you’re ready to access documents generated by Willful. You have the choice between three plans suited to your unique life stage and needs:
Essentials Plan ($99 CAD) – includes 1 document: 1 Last Will and Testament
Ideal for people who want to set up a will but don’t want to set up Power of Attorney documents, also known as living wills or emergency planning documents.
Premium Plan ($149 CAD) – includes 3 documents: 1 Last Will and Testament, 1 Power of Attorney (Finance & Property), 1 Power of Attorney (Healthcare Emergency & Wishes)
Ideal for people who want to set up a will and Power of Attorney documents to dictate what happens to them and their property in the case of an emergency. Two Premium plans are also an option for couples who wish to have different beneficiaries in their wills.
Couples (Mirrored) Plan ($249 CAD) – includes 6 documents: 2 Last Will and Testaments, 2 Powers of Attorney (Finance & Property), 2 Powers of Attorney (Healthcare & Wishes)
Ideal for couples who want to set up a will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and Personal Directive in one Willful account to dictate what happens to them and their property in the event of an emergency. Each spouse receives their own set of documents but with the same beneficiaries.
Once you’re done:
Your Willful documents outline everything you need to know to finalize your will, including obtaining signatures from two witnesses who do not benefit from your estate, signing the documents yourself, and then storing them in a safe, but accessible place.
Remember, it’s important to keep your will up to date and review it often to make sure it reflects your current wishes and the state of your finances. The good news is that you are currently able to come back to update your Willful documents at any time, free of charge.
PLUS, Use this code at checkout for 15% off your Willful documents: MYWILL15FB
Thanks to Willful for partnering with us on this helpful post.