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November is Make a Will Month

November is Make a Will Month in Ontario, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of having a will in place. While our mission to help Canadians make a will is year-round, Make a Will Month is a great extra push to quit putting off making a will until “later”. We all know that “later” isn’t always guaranteed. To help push more people across the finish line, we’re offering $25 off any Willful plan using code MAKEAWILL2019 to make it more affordable for everyone. This code is valid between November 17 - November 25th. In honour of Make a Will Month, we’re covering some of the questions we get asked most frequently.

Make a Will Month

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, you’re considered to have died intestate. There is a common misconception that this means that your estate is handed over to the government - this is not what happens. The government instead uses provincial laws to decide how to distribute your estate to surviving relatives and appoints an executor. If you have minor children, it will also choose a guardian. The problem with the government making these choices for you is that their decisions may be very different from what you would have wanted. It also entails long court-delays, expenses and added stress for your loved ones who are already going through an emotional time.

In Canada, you don’t need a lawyer to create your will. If you need legal advice, a lawyer is the way to go, but most people have simple and straightforward estates that don’t require legal advice. What makes a will legal is that you’ve signed it in ink in the presence of two witnesses that don’t benefit from your will and your witnesses sign it as well. Canadian laws don’t allow signed digital copies of wills (yet... we’re working on it!) so make sure you find a safe place to store it.

If I create a will now, can I make changes to it later on?

Making a will isn’t a one-and-done type of document. Anytime you go through a major life change like getting married (or divorced), having a child, adopting a pet, or buying a new home, you need to update your will. An outdated will may result in leaving assets to someone you’re no longer associated with such as a former spouse or partner. It’s a good idea to do a yearly check-in to make sure your assets will still be distributed the way you want and that key people like your executor, guardians, and power of attorneys are still the best people to take on the role.

With Willful, you can make changes to your will at any time for no additional cost. All you have to do is log in to your account and make the necessary changes. Be sure to print, sign and witness your new will and destroy your old copy.

The Bottom Line

Every adult needs a will in place, yet 57% of Canadian adults don’t have one. The most common reason being good old fashioned procrastination. Make a Will Month is a reminder that all of the resources you need to learn about making a will are available at your fingertips (for free!) and that in today’s digital world you can make a will in less than 20 minutes. We promise it’s not nearly as complicated or time-consuming as you might expect. If you have any questions that we didn’t address here, check out our Learn Centre. If you still can’t find the answer to your question, feel free to send us an email at hello@willful.co. Happy Make a Will Month and don’t forget to use code MAKEAWILL2019 before November 25th and close out the year with one less thing to worry about!