This is a review of Willful Wills, a digital platform where clients can create a will online for as little as $99.

Technology disrupts many industries by driving down costs and increasing accessibility. Just like how Netflix wiped-out Blockbuster when it started streaming content directly into your living room for $7/month, FinTech is shaking up the banking industry by finding new and better ways to deliver financial services to consumers. One of the more interesting and useful FinTech companies to launch recently is a start-up called Willful, which allows customers to create a will online for as little as $99 (currently available for Ontario and Alberta residents only).

I met Kevin Oulds, the founder of Willful, at a conference in Toronto last year. During his presentation I was immediately struck by the potential for Willful to help increase the number of Canadians who have a legal will. An estimated 56 percent of Canadian adults do not have a will, and nearly 30 percent of that group either do not know how to get started or believe they cannot afford one.

Willful Review: Online Wills For $99

That’s why a solution like Willful strikes the right balance between cost and simplicity.

Willful’s motto is, online wills made easy. I’ll say. I tried out the platform for this Willful review and in less than 15 minutes had created a will along with Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Property for both me and my wife.

One caveat is that Canadian law does not allow wills to be signed online and so you need to print the documents and sign them in the presence of two witnesses for them to be legally binding. Then, simply store your documents in a safe place.

Let’s compare that 15-minute painless process with my own experience setting up a will and personal directive.

Creating a Will: The Traditional Method

My wife and I met with a lawyer to create our will and personal directives shortly after our first child was born. I would have been 31 or 32 years-old at the time. 88 percent of Canadians between the ages of 27 and 34 do not have a will and I’m sure the only reason why I made it a priority was because of this blog. I wanted to go through the process and be a responsible personal finance blogger.

It’s an intimidating process. First, we had to find a law firm that handled wills and estates – not all of them do. Once we found one we set up an appointment with a lawyer and several days later had our first meeting. The lawyer gave us a stack of paperwork to peruse and told us to come back for a second visit. Our Millennial readers are sweating at the mere thought of two face-to-face meetings.

I’m comfortable talking about money and even sharing my net worth online. But it took some next-level communication between my wife and I when confronted with questions about our own mortality, along with difficult scenarios such as who would raise our children if we died. Frankly, we could have used some helpful nudges as far as what people typically check off in these situations.

Finally, the cost for our will and personal directive was in the neighbourhood of $1,000. Damn, lawyers are expensive!

So why don’t more people have a legal will? It takes time, the process is intimidating, and it’s expensive. Many people also believe that wills and estate plans aren’t for simple, everyday people, but rather they’re for thrice-married oil barons with trust fund kids who want to keep their birth-mother away from the family fortune.

But even if your family and finances are fairly straightforward the number one reason to get a will is so you can decide exactly how your estate will be distributed. If you die without a will there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out as desired.

Back to the Willful Review

Willful’s platform was developed in collaboration with leading estate lawyers, with pricing plans starting at $99. The company is based in Toronto, and its services are currently available to residents of Ontario, with plans to expand across Canada throughout 2018.

Willful pricing plans

Willful has three pricing plans from which to choose.

1.) The Essentials — $99 CAD

Ideal for single people who want to set up a will but don’t want to set up Power of Attorney to dictate what happens to them and their property in the event of an emergency. This plan includes a Last Will and Testament, and allows you to:

  • Take care of your estate and allocate property
  • Make funeral wishes known
  • Plan for your children and their inheritance

2.) Premium — $150 CAD

Same as The Essentials, plus this plan includes a Power of Attorney for Personal Care and Property, and allows you to:

  • Take care of your estate and allocate property
  • Make funeral wishes known
  • Plan for your children and their inheritance
  • Plan for an emergency

3.) Couples (Mirrored) — $250 CAD

Ideal for couples who want to set up a will and Power of Attorney to dictate what happens to them and their property in the event of an emergency. This plan includes two Last Will and Testaments, Power of Attorney for personal care and property for both you and your spouse, and allows you to:

  • Take care of your estate and allocate property
  • Make final wishes known
  • Plan for your children and their inheritance

All plans include unlimited changes.

I chose the Couples plan for my review and, as I mentioned, had the entire process completed in less than 15 minutes. Here’s how it worked:

Getting started with Willful:

First, visit the Willful website and create an account with an email address and password. Enter basic information about yourself such as your name, city of residence, date of birth, and marital status. Willful will recommend one of the three plans based on this information.

*Of note, founder Kevin Oulds initially forecasted to sell more of the Essentials plans ($99) but in reality the company has sold more Couples plans.

Willful Application (Laptop Mockup) 2

The Willful platform elegantly guides you through each of the steps; choosing your Executor, outlining your final wishes, allocating your estate, choosing beneficiaries, plus any specific bequests you wish to make. Helpful nudges guide you through each step, and I liked that Willful included suggestions like to name more than one person for Power of Attorney for property and personal care.

Willful will and power of attorneyOnce you’ve completed all the steps you pay for the plan and then can access the documents – which, again, need to be printed and signed in order to become legally binding.

Final thoughts

More Canadians should have a legal will in place. Too many people put off creating a will because it’s uncomfortable to think about or they didn’t know where to start.

Willful offers a simple way to create legal will online without visiting a lawyer. And it does it at a fraction of the cost compared to visiting a lawyer.

Kevin Oulds’ mission is for every Canadian adult to have a will. While that goal is unlikely to be achieved, Willful has created an online platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and removes the intimidation factor away from end-of-life planning, making it possible for more wide-spread adoption of wills and estate planning.

Indeed, you can get started today from the comfort of your couch.

Update: Boomer & Echo readers can now receive 10% off any Willful plan purchase by entering the promo code: Boomer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pin It on Pinterest