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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New survey shows 74% of Canadians don't have an up-to-date will

Recently I was contacted by the folks over at to let me know about the results of a survey they had conducted. Their results are, in fact, really interesting. They report that 74% of Canadians don't have up-to-date wills. This is quite a bit higher than is generally thought, since most studies and surveys conclude that the number of will-less Canadians is around 50%. The difference in this survey is that they asked not just whether people have a will, but whether their wills are up to date.

If you'd like to check out their survey and their analysis of the results (they correlate the wills to the age and income of the respondents), click here.

This company is an online will-writing service that uses software to create an interactive experience that results in the customer having a new will. Here is one of the statements made in their report:
"The service at uses the exact same software used by estate planning lawyers across Canada. So the final product is usually word-for-word identical to a Will produced by a law office."

I would just like to point out that lawyers like me, lawyers who specialize in wills, DO NOT use software to create wills. We just don't. We don't need to, or want to. If you get a will from a lawyer that is word-for-word like a will produced by software, then sure, you might as well just go right to the software yourself. But if you want legal advice, ideas, suggestions, or clarification, then go to a lawyer who specializes in will planning and believe me, it will not be anything like a document you do yourself.

For example, yesterday I met with a client who had already made his will and wanted to check it over. He left his RRSP to his son. He left a small life insurance policy to his daughter.. He wanted the rest of his estate - vehicles, motorcycle, bank account - to be cashed and used to top up his daughter's share to equalize with her brother. I pointed out to him that his estate would have a $75,000 tax bill because of the RRSP so there'd be nothing left to top up the daughter's share. In other words, there was legal information he needed that he didn't know he needed, until he asked a lawyer.

He could have used software to create the will he wanted, and it would cost him less than talking to me, but by talking to me he was advised about his situation and had a chance to fix it.

And seriously, not every lawyer charges an "egregious" fee for services, as this article claims. I'm told daily by my clients that my bills are less than half of what they are quoted by others.

So shop around for expertise and for prices before deciding where to spend your will-planning money. If you want legal advice, you need a lawyer.

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