Tips and resources to help you throughout your caregiving journey

Questions about making a will? We got answers

We continue our partnership with Willful to offer our readers a 20% discount to draft an affordable online will in 20 minutes using the Willful platform, from which we may receive a commission.

Our introductory article about prioritizing making a will was a hit! We heard many reader stories and we imagined that our Elizz readers would have questions about preparing a will and about using an online platform like Willful. Willful gets our seal of approval for being one of the best online wills platforms that is easy to use, accessible, and affordable, even more so with our exclusive discount code of 20% off (until December 10, 2020).

Using the lens of a caregiver, we asked the CEO of Willful, Erin Bury, some key questions to help caregivers get the answers they need and mobilize them to get their wills completed.

Why did you create Willful?

Willful was inspired by a personal experience. My husband (and co-founder) Kevin’s uncle passed away suddenly a few years ago, and despite being married for 30+ years, he had never discussed end-of-life planning with his wife and family.

Kevin’s family was left with so many unknowns, and it led us to ask two questions: why don’t Canadians talk about end-of-life plans, and why isn’t there an easy online tool that helps record these wishes?

We decided to focus on wills and Power of Attorney documents first at Willful, since those are the must-have documents, but our goal in future is to build out a suite of products that help Canadians prepare for and deal with death in a more accessible, affordable way.

Think of us like the TurboTax for estate planning. We guide you through creating your will and POA on our platform, and we provide education along the way. It’s an affordable, accessible solution for Canadians with simple situations who don’t want to visit a lawyer

What are the different ways a person can make a will?

In Canada, there are a few ways to make a will:  you can write it on a piece of paper (called a holograph will), which is affordable but not very comprehensive; you can visit a lawyer – the most comprehensive option, but also the most expensive; or you can use an online platform like Willful.

Who is a good candidate for using an online platform like Willful to draft a will?

Willful is a great fit for Canadians who have assets in Canada (whether that’s property, investments, or personal belongings), who are either married, divorced, or single, who have children or pets, and who don’t have any custom or complex wishes.

Related to the above question, when is it more advisable to use a lawyer to create a will?

 How you create your will and power of attorney documents is a matter of personal preference and budget. It may be more advisable to visit a lawyer if you have complexity to your estate like out-of-country assets, complex business planning needs, you require complex trusts, you’re separated but not divorced or you have conditional gifts (for example “my child only gets their inheritance if they go to university”). A lawyer may also be the right fit if you are disinheriting someone or expect that your will to be challenged or you just want legal advice specific to your situation.

How do I bring up the subject of a will with my parents without it looking like I am just interested in my inheritance?

This is an excellent question. Bringing up end-of-life planning is sensitive and can be emotional for everyone involved. It’s so important to discuss though, whether you’re discussing whether your parents have a will or power of attorney documents; their funeral or burial wishes; or where important documents and contact details are stored.

My advice is always to start with the question of legacy: how do you want to be remembered? What type of celebration is in line with your beliefs? And knowing we will be responsible for continuing your legacy, what are the key details we need to know to ensure we honour you? I recently discussed burial and funeral wishes with my mom, and the topic of inheritance never came up. Keep it focused on empowering you with information and honouring legacy, and your family will likely be more open to the conversation.

Can I have more than one executor? I would really like all 3 of my children to be my executors just to be fair.

This is a great question. We often treat executors like we treat bridesmaids in our wedding: we don’t want to leave anyone out, so we ask several people. Just like being a bridesmaid is a lot of work, so is being an executor. It is a 12-18 month process at minimum, and typically involves hundreds of hours of work, and lots of decision-making.

While you can appoint joint executors, this can often slow down the process, since typically all executors have to agree on every decision, and often they all have to be physically present to sign off on things or work with financial institutions. If you are appointing multiple executors, make sure they are on the same page, and focus on appointing people who will be a fit – who are organized, have capacity to take on this role, and who will best represent your wishes after you’re gone.

Do I have to name my only child as executor? I really want my friend to be involved.

 You can name whomever you want as executor – there is no requirement that it has to be a family member. You can even appoint a corporate executor who can take on this role. Your executor can also hire a professional to help them with estate administration when you pass away, and the fees become an expense of the estate. As mentioned in the previous question, if you want two people to act jointly, make it abundantly clear who has ultimate authority over decisions.

I trust our Elizz readers have found these questions and answers helpful. It can be difficult thing to get mobilized to do a will, but I can attest from personal experience, there is such a feeling of relief after completed. Here is the link for the 20 % discount (until December 10th, 2020).

Have you completed your will? How did you feel after? We would love to hear from you.


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