It’s never too early to start thinking about your will.
Do you have a will?
57% of Canadians don’t. 89% of millennials don’t. Perhaps most surprisingly, 65% of Canadian parents that have children under the age of 18 don’t have a will.
Y’all. We need to have a talk.
Wills are serious business. We get why so many people delay creating a will; it seems expensive, and morbid, and boring, so why rush things?
But the fact remains: creating a will and keeping it up to date can be a crucial component of household financial management.
You know we’re all about helping you get your finances under control, but we also want to share other important information, education and products that we know are critical to getting your finances in order. Today: wills, why you need one, and where you can get one quickly and affordably.
What’s a Will?
A will is a legal document that defines what will happen to your estate when you pass away. Your estate typically includes all of your assets that you own by yourself—things like real estate, personal property, and money—and any liabilities.
When you pass away, your estate will be used to settle any outstanding liabilities, like taxes or debts you owe. Once those are all settled up, your remaining assets will be divided up according to your will.
Wills are also used to name an executor of your estate, who will oversee and administer the division of your assets. This could be a family member, friend, or a financial professional, and they will carry out the instructions left in your will.
If you have minor children, your will is also where you can appoint a guardian and custodian for your children.
If you don’t have an executor or you have no will, then an executor or administrator may be appointed for your estate according to your province’s estate administration laws. Because managing an estate after someone’s death can be a time consuming and at times sensitive process, many people prefer appointing someone they know personally and trust.
Wills need to be created based on the legal processes and requirements in your province. A will that does not meet the legal requirements may require court validation, or may be deemed invalid. As a result, your estate may be treated as if you'd died intestate. (A fancy word for dying without a will.)
This is likely why so many Canadians put off creating a will: it can feel dry, overwhelming and costly to obtain legal advice. But it doesn’t have to be! (More on that later.) It’s important, and inevitable: death and taxes, you know the drill.
Why Do I Need a Will?
Everyone needs a will because without one, your provincial laws will decide how your assets are divided after your death.
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What does that all mean? It means we care about our finances. We’re trying to live a comfortable, fiscally responsible life. Creating a legal will is critical to maintaining all that we’ve worked for after we’ve passed.
Creating a legal will and testament can allow you to:
- Choose who will care for your minor children if you pass away
- Create trusts for your children which can be dispersed according to certain terms, not just as a lump sum once they reach their provinces legal age
- Appoint an executor to administer your estate
- Establish financial gifts or donations for charities upon your death
- Share your final wishes for burial, cremation, or shining bright like a diamond. Allocate specific assets to specific people, including sentimental objects
So, for example, if you’re a parent your will might split your assets evenly between your two children. If your children are minors, your will can appoint a guardian for your kids, or establish a financial trust for them (which only comes into effect after you pass away).
Wills can also make the lives of your family members way easier. Think about it: if you were mourning the loss of someone you loved, the single last thing in the world you’d want to do is duke it out over sentimental assets or your loved one’s wishes.
These are decisions you would want to make for yourself and your family, and not simply leave for a court to administer.
How Do I Make a Will?
Alright: good news and bad news. Which do you want first?
The bad news: yeah, making wills can feel expensive, time consuming, confusing, frustrating, and morbid.
The good news: there’s another way! Yes, if you have a complex estate, need legal advice or custom clauses, you’ll want to get help from a lawyer - which comes with a higher price tag. But it’s no longer the only option. For most Canadians, a faster and more affordable option is available.
Just like we’re trying to democratize the world of finance and wealth building, our friends at Willful are working to make self-service will creation accessible, affordable, and headache-free. Their online platform is available in most provinces across Canada, and their services start at only $79.29 for Mogo customers. Yeah! See?
For context, Canadian Lawyer Magazine pinpoints the cost of a complex individual will somewhere between $800 and $1,000. Ouch!
Willful is different—it takes just 20 minutes to create your will, it’s totally online and way less expensive, and you get free updates to your will for the rest of your life.
Creating your last will and testament can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. We’re stoked to tell you about this because we really believe in the service that Willful provides, but ultimately, you’ve got to decide what is best for you and your finances. If you’re interested, we recommend you check them out to see if Willful is right for you.
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This blog is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be legal or estate planning advice. If you’re unsure about preparing a Will or estate planning generally, you may wish to obtain legal advice from a qualified professional. Mogo explicitly disclaims any liability related to your use of Willful’s website and services. Willful is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. Willful is best for simple and straightforward estates.
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