LegalWills.ca's three main advantages over FormalWill.ca are:
for a Will compared to FormalWill's $59.
LegalWills allows you to login to your account at any time and make changes to your document at no extra charge.
FormalWill sell a "peace of mind" option for $9.95 that allows you to make ONE change to your document within the first year.
For $14.95 you can make TWO changes in the first two years.
Flexibility: Ability to create any distribution plan within the service, including flexible support for children and blended families.
Interactivity: Irrelevant questions are not presented.
FormalWill asks if you want to leave everything to your spouse, even when you are not married.
The LegalWills.ca service knows whether your children are minors in your Province/Territory and only asks you to set up trusts or guardians if it is relevant to you.
LegalWills.ca vs. FormalWill.ca, head-to-head
|Service offered since
|Provinces and Territories supported
||Across Canada, but Québec documents use the wrong legal terms
|Price for a Will
|Price for a complete estate plan
|Price for couples Wills
|Price for couples estate plan
|Review of document by a lawyer
||Free unlimited changes for an active account
||$9.95 CAD per change, limited to once per year
|Multiple alternate scenarios
|Staggered trust payouts for minor beneficiaries
|Different trust setup for different minors
|Wills for blended families
|Lifetime interest trusts
|Allow free-form descriptions for a distribution plan
|Multiple joint alternate Executors
|Complementary Wills to cover U.S. or U.K. assets
|Multiple formats for your final document
|ADDITIONAL SERVICES TO SUPPORT ESTATE PLANNING
|MyFuneral™ service to describe funeral wishes
|Service to document inventory of assets for your Executor or Power of Attorney
|Ability to upload files and documents to be accessed by family and loved ones
|Ability to prepare messages to be distributed after your passing
START NOW! HAVE YOUR WILL IN YOUR HANDS IN 20 MINUTES. FREE TO TRY.
FormalWill.ca vs. LegalWills.ca: Key Differences Explained
Multiple alternate scenarios
It is very common to have a simple distribution plan. For example, "leave everything to my brother".
But what if your brother were to pre-decease you, or was involved in a common accident with you?
It is important to have as much flexibility in the backup plan as you have in the first-choice plan.
You may want to leave everything to your brother, but if you are both involved in a common accident,
you may want to leave $1,000 to the Humane Society, your car to your nephew and everything else divided between your children.
This is what the options for your alternate plan look like at LegalWills.ca:
This is what the equivalent page looks like at FormalWill.ca:
This limits the distribution to percentages. You would not, for example, be able to create an alternate plan with $5,000 going to the Humane Society and the remainder going to your sister..
The distribution plan for your estate should not be constrained by the tool that you are using.
It is very common to want to leave an estate to a group of people, such as "my grandchildren", "my siblings", or "my book club".
At LegalWills.ca, this is not a problem. You can easily leave a bequest to be shared between members of a group:
At FormalWill.ca, a beneficiary can only be a named individual, or charity:
FormalWill.ca does not support group beneficiaries.
Staggered trust payouts for minor beneficiaries
Both services support Trusts for minor beneficiaries. However, at LegalWills.ca you can distribute the trust over a number of payments.
For example, you can have your minor beneficiary receive one third of their inheritance at age 21, one third at age 25 and the remainder at age 28.
This is an extremely common strategy:
At FormalWill.ca, you are restricted to specifying a single age at which the minor must receive their full inheritance:
Different trust set up for different minors
At LegalWills.ca, you create a trust plan for each minor beneficiary. For example, if you have two children with different levels of financial responsibility,
or different financial needs, then you can create a completely different trust profile for each. You may want your daughter to receive their inheritance at age 23,
but your son at age 27. If one child is older than the other, you may want your children to receive their inheritances at the same time, but not at the same age.
At LegalWills.ca, each trust is set up separately for each minor beneficiary.
FormalWill.ca is built for speed. You have one option, one age, and this applies to every minor beneficiary.
Lifetime interest trusts
This feature is difficult to implement, but absolutely critical for blended family situations.
A "blended family" is one where your spouse or partner is not the biological parent of your children.
A common preference for blended families is that "if I die, everything will go to my spouse, but when they die, it will all go to my children".
This common scenario is supported by LegalWills.ca, but not by any other service provider in Canada.
All other service providers allow you to leave everything to your spouse, but they rely on trust that your spouse
will then remember your children in the distribution plan in their Will (their estate will now include all of your assets).
It is extremely common for a spouse to move on with their life, perhaps even start a new relationship, or have close ties to a charity.
Remember, your children are not their children, and it is very common for them to subsequently leave your children out of their plans.
Without a lifetime interest trust, your entire estate will pass to your spouse, and there is every chance that your own children will not see a single dollar of your estate.
Uniquely, LegalWills.ca allows you to create a lifetime interest trust that leaves everything to your children
but allows your spouse or partner to use it for the duration of their lifetime.
For example, they can continue to live in your house, but when they die, it will pass to your children.
FormalWill.ca does not support lifetime interest trusts.
Curiously, FormalWill doesn't even take note of your family status when presenting distribution options to you.
For example, if you say that your marital status is single, then the options presented to you as a distribution plan
include naming your spouse as the main beneficiary, even though it wasn't selectable.
It is very confusing, because it really leaves you with only one option:
Allow free-form descriptions for a distribution plan
Online Will writing services guide you through the process of writing your Will.
They try to make things easy by offering the most obvious options to you;
things like: leave everything to your spouse, divide everything between your children, leave a specific bequest to a charity.
But what if you have an idea for what you want to do, that doesn't fit into these cookie-cutter options?
At LegalWills.ca, we always give you a "none of the above" option.
FormalWill.ca does not allow customers to enter free-form descriptions for their distribution plan.
Joint Executors and Alternate Executors
It is very common to want to name one's children as joint Executors. Otherwise, you are forced to favour one child over another.
It is also common to want to name one's spouse as the first choice Executor with one's children to act jointly as an alternate choice.
This is difficult to implement in such a way that it is flexible, but also intuitive.
At LegalWills.ca, we have done this both for the first choice and also for the backup, alternate Executors:
Again, for the sake of expediency, FormalWill.ca restrict your Executor to ONE person, and restrict your backup alternate Executor to TWO people,
but acting one at a time. So you would not be able to appoint your children to server jointly as Executors either as a first choice nor as an alternate plan:
Again, your Will should not be constrained by a limitation in the software that you are using.
Flexibility with a Mirror Will
At LegalWills.ca, we have balanced simplicity with flexibility.
We allow you to move data from one account to a second account so that you don't have to re-type information such as children's names and dates of birth, or Executor names.
Furthermore, you can choose exactly which data is moved over, and you are also free to edit the second Will however you wish after it has been created. It is not locked as a Mirrored Will:
FormalWill has no tool for creating a Mirror Will. You must create a second account and re-enter all of your information.
Complementary Wills for assets in other countries
Are all of your assets and property in Canada? Or do you also have property in the U.S., or in the U.K.?
If you do have assets in other countries, you cannot simply write a Will for each country.
The first clause in every Will "revokes" (cancels) all previous Wills.
This means that when you sign your U.S. Will, for example, then you would automatically cancel your Canadian Will.
To handle the assets that you own in a foreign country, either now or in the future, you will need a service like the Expat Will service at LegalWills.ca.
It allows you to write multiple Wills to cover your assets in different countries.
Each Will states specifically the scope of the assets that it is dealing with and, working together with your primary Will, these documents cover your entire estate.
LegalWills.ca is unique as the only online Will writing service provider to offer an Expat Will option.
Ability to change the final document
Most online Will writing services allow you to download the final document as a locked PDF file.
You cannot make manual changes to the final document.
LegalWills.ca is unique in its formatting and delivery options:
At LegalWills.ca, you can view your Will within the browser, you can download the Will as a PDF file, you can email the document to any email address, and
you can even opt to have the document printed professionally and mailed out to you.
Also, we are the only company that allows you to download the final document as a fully editable Microsoft Word document.
After all, it is your document, so you should be able to modify it yourself however you wish!
FormalWill restricts changes to the final document and actually restricts the number of times that a document can be updated through their "peace of mind" optional extra.
For $9.95 you can update your document once in a year, for $14.95 you can update your document a maximum of two times in two years.
Based on a review of our customers, the FormalWill approach is a massive restriction.
Our customers at LegalWills.ca regularly login to their accounts and make changes to their documents, many times per year.
What do our customers say?
Real quotes from real LegalWills.ca customers
Very easy to use and excellent value for money compared with other online wills that I searched.
Full explanations during the step by step process, and great personal customer service when needed.I like their recommendation
to use a separate detailed addendum for Executors which can be kept private and easily amended anytime on your computer.
They have a host of other services like their notification service, funeral wishes, etc. Very happy with this product.
Loved this product. So very easy to use and produced an excellent document that
was pretty much what my lawyer 15 years ago produced and for a much, much higher fee. Well done Legal Wills.
Great experience. Quicker, easier and less expensive than a lawyer.
The digital access is a nice touch as well with being able to appoint key holders in case something happens.
So simple and easy to setup. Would have done this ages ago if I knew how quick and painless it could be.
Had my sister set hers up the same day and she had no issues either.
Tom and Sherry Whiteway
Excellent product. Virtually foolproof step by step instructions.
I have told friends and relatives that even if they have an existing lawyer prepared will and they want to make changes,
Legal Wills is the way to go because it is so economical. Could not be happier. Thanks Legal Wills!
Fred Van Arragon
The process of completing my will was very straight forward, and the information
provided to help me understand what to do and why to do it was very succinct and practical. It felt much like
completing my online tax return. The wizard led me all the way and it was easy!
I was looking online about making a will and came upon this website. It's fast, user-friendly, easy, and efficient.
I feel a lot better knowing I have a will in place as a parent and didn't have to pay so much to get it done. Thank you for this service, Legal Wills!
Still not convinced? Read some honest independent reviews of LegalWills.ca
August 4, 2020
Is Estate Planning a Women's Issue?
"LegalWills.ca has been in business for 20 years and has a reputation for being a pioneer in online will services.
Wills have to go through a probate process once you pass away, which can slow things down and make things difficult for the family if you're unprepared,
but LegalWills has seen hundreds of their Wills make it through probate without any issue.
If you're looking for a Canadian company that has extremely flexible software,
joint Executor appointments and zero restrictions on estate distribution (like I was), this is a great choice for you and your family."
Read Full Review
July 15, 2020
LegalWills Canada Review
"LegalWills.ca has been simplifying the will-writing process for Canadians for about two decades.
Compared to using the services of a lawyer or going with a free Canadian will template,
they offer a solution that is cost-effective as well as safe and legally binding."
Read Full Review
July 8, 2020
"It's when you get into the service, you realize how flexible it is. For example, allowing joint Executor appointments,
and unrestricted distribution plans for your estate. So, your plans aren't constrained by limitations in the software,
which is certainly the case for other online Will writing services."
Read Full Review
June 23, 2020
Legal Wills: Best Online Will in Canada
"I started a search for the best online Will platform in Canada. Legal Wills was the result of my search."
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June 14, 2020
Canadian Legal Wills Review: Canada's Best Online Will Kit
"An overall excellent value. Creating my will was quick and easy. It took me precisely 22 minutes – so 2 minutes more than the "20 minute" prediction.
The instructions were quite clear, and the step-by-step process made it easy to create a will that was as basic or as complicated as one wants.
I appreciated the per-item pricing which allows customers to decide if they want more of a "package deal" or just a simple basic will.
(Unlike other online will kits which lock customers into a highly-priced package.)"
Read Full Review