Writing a will is a task that many of us put off for far too long. It’s often seen as a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process. However, the importance of having a will that clearly expresses your wishes cannot be overstated. That’s where FormalWill.ca comes into play, making the entire process smooth, user-friendly, and affordable. Here’s why FormalWill.ca stands out as the best online will writing service available.

Ease of Use

Cost-Effective Solutions

Legally Sound Documents

Personalized Assistance

Security and Privacy

Continuous Updates and Access

Additional Services

Educational Resources

Ease of Use

In today’s digital age, convenience and simplicity are at the core of what consumers demand, and FormalWill.ca meets these expectations head-on. The platform offers an intuitive interface that guides you through the process step by step, asking pertinent questions and providing clear explanations.

Even those with no legal background can navigate the platform with ease, making the daunting task of will writing accessible to all. With tools and one-click selections, users can complete a comprehensive and legally sound will in just a few minutes.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Traditional will writing often involves hefty legal fees and multiple visits to an attorney’s office. FormalWill.ca provides a solution that is not only efficient but also highly affordable. With various packages available, there is an option to suit every budget.

Moreover, the transparent pricing policy ensures that you know exactly what you’re paying for, eliminating hidden fees and unexpected costs.

FormalWill.ca’s documents are crafted by a team of experienced legal professionals who ensure that the wills meet the legal requirements of Canadian law.

Personalized Assistance

While the platform’s design aims to make the process as straightforward as possible, sometimes, you may need personalized assistance. FormalWill.ca offers a customer support system that includes chat support, phone calls, and email correspondence.

Whether it’s a general inquiry or a specific question, their professional support team is ready to assist, providing a level of personalized attention that distinguishes FormalWill.ca from other online platforms.

Security and Privacy

In handling sensitive information, FormalWill.ca adheres to stringent security protocols to ensure that your personal data is protected. FormalWill employs cutting-edge encryption technologies and robust privacy policies, treating your information with the utmost confidentiality and integrity.

Continuous Updates and Access

Life changes, and so do your wishes. FormalWill.ca understands this, offering the ability to make updates to your will as often as you need. The platform also provides secure cloud storage, ensuring that you have access to your documents anytime, anywhere.

Additional Services

Beyond will writing, FormalWill.ca offers a suite of related legal services, such as Power of Attorney and Living Will documents. By bundling these services, they provide a comprehensive solution for end-of-life planning, allowing you to manage all your legal documents in one place.

Educational Resources

Education empowers people to make informed decisions. FormalWill.ca offers a wealth of resources, including blogs, guides, and video tutorials, to educate users about the importance of wills, legal terminology, and more. This educational approach fosters a sense of trust and confidence in the services provided.

FormalWill.ca is leading the way in transforming the way we approach Will writing. By leveraging technology and legal expertise, FormalWill.ca has created a platform that demystifies the Will writing process, making it accessible, affordable, and reliable.

With its commitment to customer satisfaction, adherence to legal standards, comprehensive offerings, and a focus on security and education, FormalWill.ca stands out as the best online Will writing service in the market today.

It’s time to take control of your legacy, and FormalWill.ca offers the perfect platform to do just that. Whether you are writing a will for the first time or updating an existing one, you’ll find no better place to turn than FormalWill.ca.

Probate is a legal procedure that verifies a Will and confirms the appointment of an Executor to administer the deceased’s estate. In Canada, the process is governed by provincial and territorial laws, making the requirements and fees vary across the country. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how this process works in each province and territory in Canada.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Probate in Canada

How the process works British Columbia

How the process works in Alberta

How the process works in Saskatchewan

How the process works in Manitoba

How the process works in Ontario

How the process works in Quebec

How the process works in New Brunswick

How the process in Prince Edward Island

How the process works in Nova Scotia

How the process works in Newfoundland and Labrador

How the process works in the Northwest Territories

How the process works in Yukon

How the process works in Nunavut

Introduction to Probate in Canada

Probate serves as a way to ensure that the Executor is following the deceased’s wishes as outlined in their Will. It’s a critical step in administering an estate, helping to prevent fraud, and protecting the rights of the beneficiaries.

How Probate works in British Columbia

In British Columbia, the process involves submitting an application to the Supreme Court. Fees are calculated based on the gross value of the estate and can range from CAD $208 to $6,658 or more.

How Probate works in Alberta

In Alberta, the Surrogate Court handles probate applications. Fees are set at $35 for estates under $10,000, up to $525 for estates over $250,000.

How the process works in Saskatchewan

The process in Saskatchewan involves applying to the Court of Queen’s Bench. Fees are determined by the estate’s value, ranging from $7 to $7,000 or more.

How the process works in Manitoba

Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench supervises the process. The fees are based on the estate’s value, with costs ranging from $70 to $7,000.

How the process works in Ontario

In Ontario, probate fees are among the highest in Canada. The application is submitted to the Superior Court of Justice, and the fees are calculated based on the estate’s value, typically 1.5% of the total.

How the process works in Quebec

Quebec’s process differs from other provinces, as probate is not always necessary. Notarial Wills do not require this process, while others are dealt with by the Superior Court. Fees vary widely.

How the process works in New Brunswick

New Brunswick’s process involves applying to the Court of Queen’s Bench. Fees are based on the estate’s value and can range from $25 to $5,000.

How the process works in Prince Edward Island

PEI’s process is handled by the Supreme Court, with fees ranging from $50 to $4,000, depending on the estate’s value.

How the process works in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s process is overseen by the Supreme Court. Fees are calculated based on the estate’s gross value, ranging from $85 to $33,333 or more.

How the process works in Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Supreme Court handles the process for all applications. Fees are based on the estate’s value, ranging from $85 to $400.

How the process works in Northwest Territories

The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories oversees the process, with fees based on a tiered system ranging from $25 to $400.

How the process works in Yukon

In Yukon, the process applications are made to the Supreme Court. Fees are calculated on the estate’s gross value and can range from $140 to $1,400 or more.

How the process works in Nunavut

Nunavut’s Court of Justice handles the process, and the fees range from $25 to $400, based on the value of the estate.

Nunavut’s Court of Justice handles the process, and the fees range from $25 to $400, based on the value of the estate.

Understanding how the process works in Canada is essential for anyone dealing with estate planning or administration. The process can be complex, but this guide serves as a foundational resource for Canadians navigating the world of probate.

What questions do you have about Last Wills?

Questions about Wills?

A Last Will is a legal document that outlines how an individual wants their property and assets distributed after their death. In the absence of a Will, the provincial laws decide how assets are divided, which might not align with the deceased’s wishes.

In Canada, having a will is essential for several reasons:

  • Asset Distribution: Ensures that your assets, whether it’s real estate, financial accounts, or personal belongings, are distributed to beneficiaries of your choosing.
  • Child Guardianship: If you have minor children, you can designate who you’d like to care for them in your absence.
  • Estate Tax: Proper estate planning through a will can potentially minimize taxes and other fees that might arise during the probate process.
  • Easing the Process: Death can be a challenging time for loved ones. A clear and legally sound will can ease the administrative and emotional burden on your family.
  • Conflict Prevention: Clearly outlining your wishes can reduce potential disputes among family members, ensuring harmony after you’re gone.

Here are some of the top 20 questions we frequently get about Last Wills:

Why do I need a Last Will and Testament?

Who are my Beneficiaries?

Who should be my Executor?

Do I need a Guardian for my minor children?

What about my Assets?

What type of Will is suitable?

How do I ensure that my Will complies with laws?

Who should be a Witness to my Will?

What should I do with my Digital Assets?

Should I include Specific Funeral Arrangements?

How do I revoke previous Last Wills?

How do I include Charitable Donations?

What should I do if I have property in another country?

Can I exclude family members from my Last Will?

How can I minimize estate taxes?

When should I Review and Update my Last Will?

How do I protect my Last Will from challenges?

Can I include Pets in my Last Will?

What if I own a business?

Where should I store my Last Will?

  1. Why do I need a Last Will and Testament?

Without a Last Will and Testament, you’re letting the state decide who gets your assets, who becomes the guardian of your children, and how your estate will be managed. While the process can vary by province, typically assets are divided among the spouse and children. If no immediate family is available, the search for relatives can extend to more distant family members. This process can be long, emotional, and contentious.

2. Who Are My Beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries are individuals, organizations, or entities that you designate to receive portions of your estate upon your death. Choosing your beneficiaries involves careful thought and planning:

  • Identify Family Members: Usually, spouses, children, and other close family members are included. Consider your relationship dynamics and financial needs.
  • Consider Charities: If you wish to leave a portion of your estate to charity, specify the organizations and amounts.
  • Include Contingent Beneficiaries: These are backups in case your primary beneficiaries predecease you or are unable to accept the inheritance.
  • Avoid Conflicts of Interest: Be careful with designating beneficiaries who might also be witnesses to your will, as it could lead to legal challenges.
  • Review and Update Regularly: Life changes, such as marriages, divorces, or births, should prompt a review of your beneficiary designations to ensure they reflect your current wishes.

By carefully choosing and clearly identifying your beneficiaries, you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your desires, minimizing potential disputes or misunderstandings.

3. Who Should Be My Executor?

Your executor plays a critical role in administering your estate, so it’s vital to choose someone responsible, trustworthy, and capable of handling legal and financial matters. Here are some things you should understand about the role of Executorship:

  • Understanding the Role: The executor’s duties include gathering assets, paying off debts, filing final tax returns, and distributing assets. It’s a significant responsibility that requires attention to detail.
  • Consider Professional Assistance: If your estate is complex, consider appointing a trust company or professional executor.
  • Communication: Discuss the role with your chosen executor to ensure they understand the responsibilities and are willing to accept them.
  • Naming an Alternate: Choose a backup executor in case your first choice is unable to perform the duties.
  • Consider Their Location: If your executor lives in another province or country, it may add complexity to the administration process.

Choosing an executor is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires trust, communication, and an understanding of the legal and financial responsibilities involved.

4. Do I Need to Name a Guardian for My Minor Children?

If you have minor children, naming a guardian in your will is one of the most crucial decisions you will make:

  • Consider the Children’s Needs: Think about who will provide the most loving and stable environment for your children.
  • Discuss with Potential Guardians: Talk with potential guardians to ensure they are willing and able to assume this responsibility.
  • Consider Financial Factors: Assess whether the potential guardian has the financial means to care for your children or if arrangements need to be made to assist them financially.
  • Include Specific Instructions: If you have specific wishes for your children’s upbringing, including educational or religious considerations, outline them in your will.

Naming a guardian ensures that your children are cared for by someone you trust and who shares your values. It’s a decision that requires careful thought, open communication, and clear instructions to ensure your children’s well-being.

5. What Assets Do I Own and How Do I Want Them to be Distributed?

Understanding and categorizing your assets is a foundational step in writing your will.

  • List All Assets: Include real estate, financial accounts, personal belongings, vehicles, investments, digital assets, and even pets.
  • Assign Beneficiaries: Clearly identify who will receive each asset, or portion thereof, to avoid ambiguity.
  • Consider Joint Ownership: Understand how jointly owned assets will be distributed, as they may pass directly to the co-owner.
  • Be Aware of Legal Restrictions: Certain assets, like RRSPs and pensions, may have specific beneficiary designations outside of the will.
  • Update Regularly: Changes in assets or personal relationships should prompt a review of these designations.

By being thorough and transparent in this area, you minimize the risk of misunderstandings or disputes among your heirs.

6. What Type of Will is Suitable for My Situation?

In Canada, there are several types of wills, each catering to different needs:

  • Formal Wills: These are typed and signed before witnesses. They are best for complex estates and provide clarity.
  • Holograph Wills: Entirely handwritten and signed by the testator without witnesses, this is a quick way to create a will but may lead to disputes.
  • Notarial Wills: Common in Quebec, these are drawn up by a notary.
  • Online Wills: These wills created through online platforms such as FormalWill.

Choosing the right type depends on your circumstances, the complexity of your estate.

7. How Do I Ensure My Will Complies with My Province’s Laws?

Canada’s legal system varies by province, especially regarding estate law. Ensuring compliance requires several steps:

  • Research Provincial Laws: Understand the legal requirements in your province, such as age restrictions, witness regulations, or special forms.
  • Consider Legal Assistance: Consulting a legal professional may help ensure compliance with provincial laws.
  • Avoid Conflicts: Make sure that the beneficiaries and witnesses’ roles do not conflict with your province’s requirements.
  • Understand Intestacy Rules: Knowing what happens if your will is deemed invalid can guide you in creating a robust document.

Compliance with provincial laws ensures your will is valid and reduces the risk of challenges or complications during probate.

8. Who Should Witness My Last Will?

Witnessing a will is a critical part of validating the document:

  • Choose Competent Witnesses: Typically, witnesses must be of legal age and mentally competent.
  • Avoid Interested Witnesses: In many provinces, beneficiaries or their spouses should not witness the will, as it may invalidate their inheritance.
  • Understand Provincial Requirements: Witnessing rules can vary, so consult your province’s legislation to ensure compliance.
  • Witnesses’ Role: They verify your identity, that you signed willingly, and that you appear competent.

The selection of appropriate witnesses is a vital step in creating a legally valid will, reflecting the seriousness with which the document must be treated.

9. What Should I Do with my Digital Assets?

Digital assets, such as online accounts, cryptocurrencies, and digital files, require special consideration in estate planning:

  • List Digital Assets: Include everything from social media accounts to digital currencies, subscriptions, and personal files.
  • Assign Access: Consider providing secure ways for your executor or beneficiaries to access these assets, such as a digital vault or password manager.
  • Understand Terms of Service: Some platforms may have specific rules regarding account transfer or termination upon death.
  • Provide Clear Instructions: Outline what you want to happen with each digital asset, whether it’s deletion, transfer, or memorialization.

By addressing digital assets, you ensure that they are handled appropriately, according to your wishes, and don’t become lost or misused.

10. Should I Include Specific Funeral Arrangements?

Including funeral or memorial arrangements can be a compassionate addition to your Will:

  • Specify Preferences: You may include details on burial vs. cremation, location of services, and any specific ceremonies or religious practices.
  • Pre-Pay Expenses: Some opt to pre-pay or set aside funds for funeral expenses to alleviate the financial burden on loved ones.
  • Communicate Outside the Will: Since wills are often read after funeral arrangements are made, ensure these wishes are communicated to family members or the executor in advance.
  • Consider a Separate Document: A separate “letter of instruction” might be a better place for these details, as it can be more easily accessed.

By outlining your preferences, you provide guidance and relieve loved ones of making difficult decisions during an emotional time.

11. How Do I Revoke Previous Wills?

Revoking previous wills is essential to prevent confusion:

  • Include Revocation Clause: New wills typically include a clause that revokes all previous versions.
  • Destroy Old Copies: Physically destroying old copies helps ensure that there’s no confusion about your current wishes.
  • Notify Relevant Parties: Inform your executor and anyone else who has a copy of the old will that a new one has been created.

Revoking old wills clearly and effectively ensures that only your most recent wishes are carried out.

12. How Do I Include Charitable Donations?

Leaving a legacy through charitable giving is a noble gesture:

  • Identify Charities: Choose organizations that resonate with your values and goals.
  • Determine Amount or Percentage: Decide whether to leave a specific amount or a percentage of your estate.
  • Consult with Charities: Some charities have specific wording or instructions for bequests, so it’s wise to consult with them.
  • Consider Tax Implications: Charitable gifts can affect the estate’s tax situation, so understanding these implications may be valuable.

Including charity donations aligns your legacy with your values and can positively impact causes you care about.

13. What Should I Do If I Have Property in Another Country?

Owning foreign assets adds complexity to estate planning:

  • Understand Foreign Laws: Different countries have different inheritance laws, taxes, and regulations that must be addressed.
  • Consider Separate Wills: Some legal experts recommend having separate wills for each jurisdiction where you own property.
  • Consult with Foreign Legal Experts: Engaging legal professionals in the country where the property is located ensures compliance with local laws.
  • Consider Tax Implications: Understand the Canadian and foreign tax obligations related to owning and inheriting foreign property.

Dealing with foreign assets requires careful planning, understanding of international law, and potentially seeking professional legal assistance.

14. Can I Exclude Family Members from My Last Will?

Excluding a family member, especially a spouse or child, is a delicate matter:

  • Specify the Exclusion: If you wish to exclude someone, clearly state this in the will, along with the reasons, to minimize potential legal challenges.
  • Understand Legal Rights: In some provinces, spouses and dependent children may have legal rights to challenge exclusions.
  • Consider Professional Advice: Consulting with an estate lawyer may help you navigate the complex legal landscape of intentional exclusions.

Excluding a family member must be done with care and awareness of legal ramifications to prevent potential conflicts or challenges.

15. How Can I Minimize Estate Taxes?

Minimizing estate taxes requires careful planning:

  • Utilize Tax-Free Gifts: Gifting assets while alive may reduce estate taxes.
  • Consider Trusts: Establishing specific trusts can provide more control over asset distribution and potential tax benefits.
  • Understand Probate Fees: Different provinces have varying fees for processing wills; understanding these can guide estate planning.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Tax laws are complex, and professional advice can help identify opportunities to minimize estate taxes.

Taking steps to minimize estate taxes ensures more of your estate goes to your chosen beneficiaries rather than to taxes and fees.

16. When Should I Review and Update my Will?

Regular reviews ensure your will reflects your current situation:

  • After Major Life Events: Marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary are common triggers for a review.
  • Changes in Assets or Debts: Significant changes in financial circumstances should prompt a reevaluation.
  • Changes in Laws: Legal changes might affect the validity or effectiveness of your will.
  • Regular Intervals: Even without significant changes, reviewing your will every few years is a good practice.

By regularly reviewing and updating your will, you ensure it continues to align with your wishes and complies with current laws.

17. How Do I Protect My Will from People who want to challenge my Will?

Protecting your will from legal challenges requires thought and care:

  • Be Clear and Precise: Ambiguity may lead to challenges, so be specific in your language.
  • Consider Vulnerable Beneficiaries: If you have beneficiaries who may be perceived as vulnerable or influenced, additional precautions may be necessary.
  • Maintain Mental Competence Records: If there are concerns about mental competence, medical evaluations can provide evidence.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Legal professionals can identify potential weak points and help bolster your will against challenges.

By proactively addressing potential challenges, you increase the likelihood that your will is executed according to your wishes.

18. Can I Include Pets in My Last Will and Testament?

Pets are beloved family members for many, providing your pet’s with the best love and care when you pass away is the best thing for them. You can plan for your pets’ future by checking out FormalWill’s Pet Will. This comprehensive document includes the following:

  • Name a Caregiver: Identify a willing and able caregiver for your pets.
  • Provide Financial Support: Consider setting up a pet trust or allocating funds for the pet’s care.
  • Include Specific Instructions: If you have specific wishes for your pet’s care, include them in this Pet Will.

19. What If I Own a Business?

Business succession planning can be complex:

  • Consider Your Business Structure: Different business structures may require different estate planning strategies.
  • Identify Successors: Decide who will take over or manage your business interests.
  • Create a Succession Plan: A detailed business succession plan can guide the transition and minimize disruption.
  • Consult Professionals: Business and legal professionals can provide guidance tailored to your business and industry.

Careful planning ensures the continued success of your business and the protection of your professional legacy.

20. Where Should I Store My Last Will?

The safe storage of your will is vital:

  • Avoid Safety Deposit Boxes: If the will is in your name only, it might not be accessible immediately after your death.
  • Consider a Lawyer’s Office: Many people keep their wills with their lawyers.
  • Inform Executors: Make sure your executor knows where to find the will.
  • Avoid Damages: Store it in a place safe from potential damage, like fire or water.

Choosing a secure and accessible location for your will ensures that it’s available when needed and remains in good condition.

Do you have any questions of your own to add?

This completes our exploration of the Top 20 Questions on Making a Will in Canada. By thoughtfully considering these questions, you can create a Will that honors your legacy, provides for your loved ones, and withstands legal scrutiny.

write a will

Want to know how to write your own Will?  It’s actually more straight-forward than you think.  The following items should be included when you write a Will:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Location
  3. Listing who your Executors Will be
  4. Specifying how you want to divide up your Estate
  5. Listing your Beneficiaries
  6. Appointing Guardians if you have minor children
  7. Your Signature and Date
  8. The Signatures of your Witnesses


The reality is that you know you need to have one, but for various reasons, you keep putting it off. This is usually due to the following: a) a lack of money to see a lawyer b) a lack of time to see a lawyer c) it’s an uncomfortable process to think about. The last reason involves going over some hard but necessary questions to think about.  While you mull over the hard questions to think about, you may also want to consider the alternatives in having a lawyer write your Will out for you. There are a few different options for writing a Will.  One of these is a holographic Will which is a handwritten document created by you outlining where you want your assets and items to go after you have passed on. A handwritten holographic Will can be problematic for several reasons: you may not have included all of the proper items that are needed to write a Will; you may not know the basics on how to validate your Will; you may not understand the legal terminology that goes into writing a Will; and a handwritten Will can lead to disputes surrounding the authentication of your writing.

Other alternatives to write a Will can include a Will kit or online Will software. Using a Will kit, as opposed to Will software, typically involves a blank fill-in-the page Will book. It may be a generic type of one size fits all type of kit which does not address the various situations you may find yourself requiring a Last Will and Testament for. In addition, a Will kit may not be updated with laws and regulations the way online Will software can. In the event of changes to laws, you may find that you have to purchase an updated Will kit to ensure that the Will you create is properly updated.  In contrast, online Will software can be continuously updated using advanced technology.

Using online Will software or an online Will form would provide a better alternative to a generic Will kit. Will software programs can also better guide you through the process of how to make a Will by going through each online page in a clear and readable format. Basic answers to legal terminology is usually available at the click of a button. Will software can help you to write your Will by guiding you through the difficult questions about what would happen if you pass on.  For instance, who would inherit your assets? Who would be your beneficiaries? Do you want to leave any specific gifts to particular individuals? Do you want to leave charitable donations? Do you have a guardian in mind for your minor children? Speaking of which, what about leaving assets in Trust? There are many questions to ponder when it comes to creating a Last Will and Testament. Will software or online Will forms may be the best choice to go with as an alternative to a lawyer.