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A lot of people know that having a will is a good idea. However, they don’t know much more than that — and why would they? The thought of having to prepare for a day when you might not be around isn’t fun. It can also be overwhelming to spend your Friday night thinking about what type of memorial or funeral service you might want. But, you need to.
I’d like to think you, yes you, reading a personal finance blog in your free time, is responsible. You care about your money, your future, and you most certainly care about your loved ones. So, considering all of that, I’d like to think you know how important it is to have your affairs in order should the unexpected happen.
As humans who care about our money, we typically plan for emergencies, we plan to pay off our debt, we plan to buy homes and we plan to have kids (sometimes). So, what makes planning for our death any different?
Ugh, I know. It’s dark to talk about and it’s certainly dark to read about. I mean, I tried to make light of this topic and Googled “jokes about death” which I’ll be honest with you, isn’t the best Google search I’ve ever made. But, let’s not make it all for not.
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
Alright, now that we’re all comfortable talking about death (as comfortable as you can be), let’s talk about your will.
You won’t believe this, but 56% of Canadian adults do not have a will. That’s right. 56% of people are leaving their livelihoods up in the air should anything unexpected happen.
I used to be one of those people. Up until the day I found out that I was pregnant, I never thought more than a few weeks into the future, let alone about what would happen to my assets once I passed away. However, that quickly changed once I realized that my life was more than just myself and my husband. I suddenly had a responsibility, and as a new parent, I need to protect and take care of my child no matter what the circumstance.
I know what you might be thinking:
I don’t have very much money/belongings/assets
My family will know what to do
I don’t need to worry about this until I’m older
I’ve got way too much on my plate and it seems like a lot of time/money
Well, let me debunk these excuses for you. Wills aren’t just for the rich. If you have a family, if you have a property and if you have any savings (at all), you want to ensure that whatever personal belongings you do have, go to the right people.
In Canada, if you die without a will, the law will state that you left no instructions on how to divide your property. Therefore, your belongings will be divided based on provincial laws. Not only can this be an expensive process, but it can also become a long and tedious process for your family to sort out.
Typically, if you have a spouse and no children, your spouse will inherit all of your assets. If you have a spouse and child, it will be split — in most provinces. However, in Alberta (where I live), your spouse will still inherit all of your assets. As much as I love my husband, I still want to be able to leave behind my daughter all that I’d like to should something unexpected occur.
For a good guide that breaks down all of the “what-ifs” for those who are still riding the “I’m not ready for a will but I still want to know what will happen if I don’t have one” train, Legal Line has some great information.
However, if you are starting to see the value in having a will, as I did, let’s look at your options.
Finally, let’s get to the good stuff. Way back in 2017, I found Willful. Willful is an online platform that makes it affordable, convenient and easy for Canadians to create a legal will online. Which, is basically my dream, considering anything that requires me to leave my home is a struggle.
Back then, I was really eager to create a will, but at that time, they only offered their services in Ontario. Now, they offer their services in Ontario, BC and Alberta. I like to think they wanted to roll out by the time I had my kid because they knew how crazy excited I was about this idea, but I mean, I guess there might be other reasons.
Want to see for yourself? Follow along in this video:
It’s honestly, super easy. Which is why I am so in love with this company to begin with. All it takes is walking through their very basic, yet informative online form — for free. Willful helps users make a last will and testament, enduring power of attorney, and a personal directive, which will cover all your bases.
Breaking down the fancy words:
A legal document to communicate your final wishes with personal belongings.
A legal authorization for a trusted friend or family member to act on your behalf in all legal and financial matters.
A legal document assigning a trusted friend or family member to make personal decisions regarding your health or well being if you are unable to do so.
In total, the entire process can take as little as 20 minutes and requires five simple steps:
Create an account by signing up with an email and secure password.
Share basic information. Input basic information about your current life situation including full name, city of residence, date of birth and marital status. Based on this information, Willful will recommend one of its three available plans.
Select a plan that best suits your needs.
Finalize all of the documents.
Print, sign and store your documents as required by law.
Most people assume that creating a will costs an arm and a leg considering it involves a lot of legal paperwork. However, a lawyer doesn’t have to create your will. You just need a document that details your distribution of assets and personal wishes to be signed by two adult witnesses not listed within the will. You must then safely store a hard copy for your family members to access should they need to.
Willful provides three plans for you to choose from and will help you decide which plan makes the most sense based on your assets and lifestyle.
The essentials plan is great for single people who want a last will and testament, to take care of their estate and allocate property and plan their funeral.
The premium plan includes all of the items listed in the essentials plan, plus your enduring power of attorney and personal directive.
The couples plan includes all of the previous two plans but for two of you. Therefore, if you have a partner and want to ensure both of you are covered in case of death, you are.
For myself and my husband, creating a will was a no-brainer. Now that we have a child and a healthy savings account, it’s a huge priority for us to take care of all of our assets should anything happened. We’ve both experienced unexpected loss and know that it’s never an easy situation to navigate from the other side, so anything we can do to reduce stress and anxiety from our loved ones is extremely important to us.
If you feel the same and are interested in creating your online will, you can head to Willful right now and start the process. Even better? If you’re signed up for my newsletter you’ll receive a discount code in your inbox this week!
At the end of the day, not every financial decision is always about the next flight or concert you plan to attend. Sometimes it’s about making the uncomfortable decision to do the best possible thing for you and your loved ones. I’m so glad I finally took the plunge, and I know you will be too.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Willful. However, all thoughts and opinions within the piece are all from yours truly! For those of you located outside of Alberta, BC and Ontario, please note that creating a legal will involves abiding with provincial laws. Although Willful isn’t available in every province, they do plan on expanding soon. For my American followers, you can check out Trust & Will to create a legal online will in your country.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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