Happy July everyone, it’s Sarah here! While Ryan is off in Scotland this month, I’ve taken over the newsletter to share some personal insights on a recent experience with digital will planning platforms.

I know all too well how quickly life changes because of the work we do at Quiet Legacy. We have the privilege of supporting many families in planning for future unknowns and acting as a supportive guide through the tough times. When you work with such lovely people, it’s nearly impossible to not feel emotionally connected to their experiences. But recently, I too have experienced some very difficult life changes that were unplanned, and its impact brought me to a tender and humbling place in life… divorce.

This isn’t an outcome I ever planned for, in fact I’d been preparing for quite the opposite outcomes and yet, here we are. Through all this unknown territory, it’s wild to realize that during such an emotionally exhausting time, there is also an overwhelming amount of administrative, legal and financial changes that demand attention. Each of these areas require careful consideration and grief can often make you want to withdraw from it all, which is why having experienced professionals on your side is so important. I know I’m forever grateful to the professionals who’ve guided me this far along the journey.

Back in January 2022, I wrote an article about my experience in drafting a will with my partner and the collective values that needed to be reflected in the plan. What I didn’t write about was the emotional hurdles we faced in those conversations and how the overall process sometimes felt so daunting that it was easy to set it down and promise to get back to it later. Getting a will done is no simple task; however, the consequences of not having one done can be devastating to anyone who is left having to deal with an estate that is intestate (dying without a will).

According to a study done by Willful, 57% of Canadians don’t have a will and 64% of Canadians don’t have an up-to-date will. And, in a situation like a recent separation, it’s vital to take a long hard look at whether your will needs updating.

When I researched the price that a will would cost with a proper estate lawyer, the price varied from $850-$3,000. The price was determined on whether it was per individual or couple and with my partner being a business owner and the two of us having children together, our needs were a bit complex. Now as a single parent of two, with a lot more uncertainty in my life as we navigate the separation process, spending that kind of money on updating my will is a big expense to juggle, knowing I might have to redo it or alter it fairly quickly. So what do you do if you can’t afford to update your will with an estate lawyer or need a will done quickly? Luckily, as I discovered, there are non-traditional and more affordable options that can help fill the gap.

One important note:  you should almost always do your will with the assistance a qualified estate lawyer. If that is not possible, or financially feasible, there are online resources that can help draft a will in a hurry or at least have something in the case where no will exists at all.   These tools can be useful for a quick temporary triage (like for my own situation), or for very simple situations.


Willful is an online platform that offers its user a bare bones plan around $100. This will get you a last will and testament that is registered with the Canada Will Registry and allows you to update and make unlimited changes for free. If you want a will that also includes a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Power of Attorney for Property, the cost is roughly double. Finally, if you are a couple and would like to draft your wills together, there is a premium package for $329 CAD that will offer you all of the above benefits for both you and your partner.

From my perspective, Willful was very user friendly and designed to feel efficient and undaunting. I didn’t have to scroll down a never-ending page of questions. Each question showed on the screen one at a time with percentage of overall completion indicated at the bottom of the page. The questions were easy to understand and fairly quick to complete, considering I already had an idea of what my intentions were prior to starting the process. If you didn’t know a term, they offered a definition to help clarify their question. In total, it took me about 30 minutes to complete.

Once I filled out all the questions it allowed me to review and confirm before it prompted me to pay for access of my final copy. Overall, I think the process was made to feel simple and I like knowing that I can easily return to my answers and change them over time by logging into my Willful account.


Epilogue is another online platform for drafting a will and comes with a strong reputation in the industry. Epilogue was slightly more expensive than Willful… but not by much.

When compared to Willful, Epilogue went into a little more detail, offering items like automated notifications to my designated executors and named guardians. They asked me to record my assets, name key contacts, and even prepare something new to the game called a “Social Media Will”. I found their questions to be just as approachable as with Willful’s; however, I found their questions to be worded in a more inclusive way and the flow of questions feeling better structured. They clearly put a lot of empathy into their wording and guided prompts along the process. Epilogue was not starkly different from Willful, but there was a sense of gentility I felt from Epilogue that appealed to me.

As with Willful, the overall process took about a half hour and payment was prompted at the very end with an additional offer for the document to be printed and mailed to your address. I liked that Epilogue offered additional options such as exploring my online accounts. This has even prompted us to contemplate an entire newsletter on digital assets and account management. In this day and age, so much of our lives exists online that having a digital estate plan should become another level in the standard estate planning process.

Legally Binding

In just a quick Google search, you’ll find there are countless online versions of Will generators. Some are free, some come with single payment options and others come with subscriptions. Each of them has their own unique approach or offer a cheap and cheerful process to having some kind of intentions set in place, but in the end, if you want your will to be considered legally binding in Canada it must meet the following requirements:

  • The will must be created by you, of sound mind, and over the age of majority in Ontario (age of 18).
  • The will must be made by you – the testator.
  • Your will must be signed in wet ink in the presence of two valid witnesses and stored as a physical copy (only the original copy of your will is valid).
  • Your witnesses must sign the last page of your will together with you.

One very important note:  if you decide to do an online will, make sure you read and follow their signing instructions explicitly.  Our estate-litigation lawyer friends have shared with us that these kinds of wills often end up back in court after the testator dies, often due to the will not having been properly witnessed or signed.

A Temporary Triage

There are plenty of options out there for drafting a will as we now know, but one thing I know at the end of all this research is that none of these options will ever equate to getting your will done with an experienced and qualified estate lawyer. The vast majority of estates are far too complicated to ever get properly covered in a 30-minute survey.

For now, given the temporary uncertainties in my life, I can sleep easier at night knowing I have a digital will to protect my kids while this divorce is being finalized. Long term, my intentions are to foster ongoing conversations with my family and friends about my own planning, but also their own! Making sure each of us has a will of some kind and that we are proactively empowering one another to get a plan in place before that inevitable time when life throws us a curve ball.

Like me, others may find online wills a good temporary triage.  I can also see this being an easy first will and power of attorney experience for my twins when they turn 18.  In our work, we often point out that the second someone becomes the age of majority, they need a will, otherwise the Public Guardian and Trustee must become involved.  This can even prevent the family from making something as basic as funeral arrangements.

Like you, I hope my legacy is remembered with love. I want those special people I leave behind to be protected by a carefully thought out estate plan and a proper, up to date will. Ultimately, I intend to leave the world a little better than I found it…. by taking some small action today.

With love,