It's Your Money  

Pros and cons of making your will online

Your will in the cloud

The advent of online Canadian wills has revolutionized the landscape, addressing many of the shortcomings of older DIY options.

These platforms provide accessible and user-friendly interfaces, allowing individuals to create legally sound and customized wills from the comfort of their homes.

But much like any other new product or service, the utilization of these new estate planning solutions is not without some risks and it is important to fully understand the pros and cons of these options:

Pros of online Canadian wills:

1. Accessibility and convenience: Online wills are highly accessible, offering the convenience of creating a will at any time and from any location with an internet connection. This accessibility is especially valuable for those with busy schedules or mobility challenges.

2. Legal guidance: Reputable online will platforms often provide step-by-step guidance, ensuring users understand the legal implications of their decisions. This guidance helps individuals navigate complexities, consider tax implications, and create a more robust estate plan.

3. Dynamic updates: Online wills typically allow for dynamic updates. Users can easily make changes to their wills in response to life events, ensuring that the document remains current and reflective of their wishes.

4. Cost-effective: Online will services are generally more cost-effective than hiring a traditional estate planning attorney. This affordability increases accessibility for individuals who may have previously found professional legal assistance financially prohibitive.

5. Accessible legal expertise: Some online platforms offer access to legal professionals who can answer questions and provide guidance. While not a substitute for personalized legal advice, this feature enhances the overall user experience and addresses concerns about the lack of professional input.

Cons of online Canadian wills:

1. Lack of personalization: While online wills offer some customization options, they may not fully accommodate unique family dynamics or complex financial situations. Individuals with intricate estates or specific requests likely still require professional legal advice to ensure their wills align with their intentions.

2. Potential for misinterpretation: The absence of face-to-face interactions with a legal professional may lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings. Users might misapply legal concepts, leading to unintentional errors in their wills, which could lead to disastrous consequences with their estates.

3. Security concerns: While reputable online platforms prioritize security, there are concerns about the storage and protection of sensitive personal information. Users must choose platforms with robust security measures to safeguard their data.

The evolution of online Canadian wills has significantly improved the landscape of DIY estate planning, offering accessibility, guidance, and affordability. While these platforms address many of the drawbacks associated with older DIY options, it's crucial for users to approach them with a clear understanding of their limitations.

Online wills serve as a valuable tool for individuals with straightforward estates and relatively uncomplicated financial situations. However, for those with intricate family dynamics or complex financial portfolios, consulting with a qualified estate planning attorney remains the gold standard to ensure the creation of a comprehensive and legally sound will.

Ultimately, the decision to use online Canadian wills should be informed by the complexity of one's estate and the need for personalized legal expertise.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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