Thinking of our own mortality can be scary and uncomfortable. So we tend to avoid discussing getting Life Insurance and Wills.
But writing a Will is an essential part of any estate planning and it guarantees that your loved ones will be protected when you’re gone.
Traditionally, you need a lawyer to prepare a Will. But Canadians now have options to prepare a legal Will online from the comfort of their homes.
In this post, we’ll start by explaining what a Will and Power of Attorney is, and what happens if you die without a Will.
Then we’ll do an Epilogue Wills review, covering its offerings, cost, support and how to get $20 off the fees by using WALLETBLISS20 at checkout.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that allows a person to make decisions about how they want their estate to be distributed after their death. It is also called Last Will and Testament, and only takes effect after a person’s death.
Some of the main things that goes into a Will include:
- How you want your assets, such as property, savings in your bank accounts and investments, heirlooms and so on to be distributed after your death.
- Appointing the person(s) that will be the guardians for your minor children, if you have any.
- Appointing an Executor or Trustee, which is the person that will be responsible for settling your affairs after death and managing your minor children’s inheritance until they reach the age of majority (or at a later age if you set that out in your Will).
What happens if you die without a Will?
Up to 56% of Canadians don’t have a Will. If you die without a Will, called dying “intestate”, your estate will be shared according to the laws of your province or territory. And in most instances, this will be different from how you would want your assets to be distributed.
Specifically, if you die without a legal Will, you:
- have no control on how your assets will be distributed
- won’t be able to choose who your Executor or Trustee will be
- have no say in who the Guardian of your minor children is
- will leave your family in an administrative mess, and sometimes legal battle for control over who gets what.
Fortunately, you can easily get a Will by using an online platform like Epilogue Wills now.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that gives another person or party the authority to act on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated – that is, mentally or physically unable to act for yourself. The person may have the authority to make decisions about your finances, property, or health care.
There are two types of Powers of Attorneys: Power of Attorney for Property (POA-P) and Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POA-PC)
A Power of Attorney for Property allows the person you appoint to make decisions about your finances, such as your investments, paying bills, filing your taxes and so on.
On the other hand, a Power of Attorney for Personal Care gives the person you appoint the authority to make personal and health care related decisions on your behalf.
While a Will deals with what happens after your death, a POA is concerned with how your affairs will be taken care of if you’re incapable.
Who is Epilogue Wills?
Epilogue Wills is a Toronto-based company that provides a simple and fast solution for Canadians to create their Will and Powers of Attorney online.
It was founded by two estate planning lawyers with the goal to make Wills accessible to all Canadians, without all the legal jargons.
You can create a Will online in less than 20 minutes from anywhere by answering some simple questions, and at an affordable price compared to using the services of a lawyer.
Epilogue is currently available in only Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, but they have plans to gradually roll-out their services to other provinces and territories by 2021.
Benefits of Epilogue Wills
These are some of the benefits of creating a Will with Epilogue.
- Epilogue makes Wills accessible and convenient. You can complete your Will without the help of a Lawyer and from the comfort of your own home.
- It is affordable, with the pricing at a fraction of the cost of using a lawyer
- Epilogue is founded by a team with expertise in estate planning.
The process is streamlined and fast. A legal Will can be completed in just twenty minutes.
How Epilogue Wills Works
To create a Will on Epilogue is fairly simple and straightforward. In fact, you can start and finish the whole process in less than 20 minutes. If you prefer though, you can spread it out over several sessions as Epilogue saves your progress so you can return to it any time.
You just need a few information to begin, such as the details of your spouse and kids, who will be the guardian for your minor kids, how you want to share your assets and who you want to be the Executor and/or Trustee.
Learn about everything you need here or use the handy checklist from Epilogue below:
Once you have all the information you need, your legally binding Will can be created in 3 easy steps:
- Answer a few questions about yourself, family members and your wishes
- Epilogue will generate your custom Legal Will within seconds
- Print out the Will, and the Power of Attorney if applicable, and sign it to make it official.
Epilogue does a good job of taking you through the process, with guides along the way. For example, see the picture below for guide on who to choose as a guardian. Clicking the “?” will bring up further details to help you with the question.
To make your Will official and legally binding, you need to sign it along with your witnesses in the presence of each other.
In response to the State of Emergency put in place because of Covid-19, some provinces now allow remote signing and witnessing of the Will. The provinces include Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. However, Ontario and BC require one of the witnesses to be a Lawyer or notary public (in BC) under this rule.
How much does a Legal Will cost with Epilogue?
Epilogue’s online estate planning solution allows you to prepare a Will and Power of Attorney at a fraction of what it’ll cost if you use the services of a lawyer.
The pricing varies depending on whether you’re creating only a Will or adding a Power of Attorney, an Individual Will or a Couples Will.
|Service||Individual Will||Couples Will|
|Will + Powers of Attorney||$179||$289|
Use WALLETBLISS20 to get $20 off.
If you’re married, the Couples Will option offers a better deal. And it’s worth nothing that each partner gets their own unique login and dashboard.
Epilogue allows you to update your Will anytime for free. A funeral and burial wish can also be added for free.
When you’re done with your Will, you can print it out yourself or let Epilogue print and mail it to you. This is an extra service and it costs $19 for both printing and delivery.
Do you need a Lawyer for an online Legal Will?
No. A Will created through an Online service is as legally binding as anyone written by a Lawyer as long as it is signed in accordance with the rules of your province.
You may even decide to use a holographic Will, a type of Will that is written entirely in your handwriting. Witnesses aren’t required on a holographic Will, but it’s best to avoid this option to prevent legal challenges to the Will when you’re gone.
However, using the services of a Lawyer is best if you have a more complicated circumstance.
Some of these situations include:
- You have a family member with disabilities that is receiving government benefits (such as ODSP). In such a case, you may wish to include a Henson Trust in your Will to ensure that individual will continue to receive the government benefits.
- You have a blended family, with kids from another marriage and need a Spousal Trust.
- You want to exclude a child or spouse from your Will.
- You have assets outside of Canada.
Epilogue does not support these situations at the moment, so it’s a good idea to consult with a Lawyer.
Epilogue does not provide legal or any other professional advice, such as accounting, or tax advice.
For any other question about using the platform and the different services they offer, you can reach them using any of the options below:
Email : [email protected]
There is also the Epilogue Learn Centre with answers to many questions about Wills in general.
A Will starts at $139 for individuals and $229 for Couples. To get a Will + Powers of Attorney, it costs $179 and $289 for individuals and couples respectively.
Anyone can be the witness to your Will, as long as they are not a beneficiary to the Will. That means, you can use a neighbour, friend, colleague and so on.
Epilogue Wills is currently available in Ontari, Alberta and British Columbia. Other provinces and territories should come by 2021.
Your assets would be distributed in line with the laws and rules of your province. And this may not be how you would want your assets shared. Also, you’ll have no say in who the guardians for your minor kids will be.
Like Life Insurance, getting a will is a way to ensure to your loved ones are protected when you’re gone.
Fortunately, protecting you loved ones and ensuring your wishes are respected have never been easier.
My Epilogue Wills Review is positive. You can start now and have your legal Will completed in the next twenty minutes.
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Epilogue is a simple, fast and affordable way for Canadians to create their Will and Powers of Attorney online, from the comfort of their homes and in minutes.