Things You Should Keep in Mind Before Using Will Kits in Canada

Pros and Cons of Will Kits

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva January 7, 2024
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The importance of a well-crafted will cannot be overstated. Having a will gives you peace of mind, knowing that your final wishes will be honoured and your estate will be distributed according to your wishes.


Will kits have become a popular, often budget-friendly option for those who want to create their own will. But while will kits may be an affordable option for some, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Estate laws can be confusing and tricky to navigate on your own, and using a will kit may not be the easiest or most cost effective way to ensure that your final wishes are honoured. 

Consulting a qualified estate lawyer will ensure the legal robustness and comprehensive coverage of your testament. This delicate balance between accessibility and complete legal precision underscores the nuanced landscape of will preparation in Canada.

What Is a Will Kit?

A will kit is a set of tools or legal documents that facilitates the creation of a last will by individuals without the direct involvement of a lawyer. Often referred to as a “do-it-yourself” or DIY will, it includes pre-drafted will templates, guidelines, and instructions to help users outline their wishes regarding the distribution of assets, the appointment of executors, and other critical decisions.

While they offer convenience, it is essential to note that will kits may not address complex legal scenarios or specific considerations, such as minor children or bended families, and users should carefully review and understand the templates provided. Consulting with a legal professional is advisable, especially for individuals with intricate financial situations or specific legal concerns.

Why It Is Important to Have a Last Will and Testament

Creating a will is a crucial aspect of responsible financial and personal planning, serving various indispensable functions. A well-drafted will serves as a legally binding document that explicitly outlines the distribution of an individual’s assets and possessions after their passing, including financial holdings, real estate, personal belongings, and valuable items.


Beyond asset distribution, a will appoints an executor to oversee the estate’s administration, ensuring the deceased’s wishes are faithfully executed. It also allows parents to designate a legal guardian for their minor children, safeguarding their well-being and future. Additionally, a will addresses financial matters by providing guidance on settling outstanding debts and taxes, preventing these obligations from burdening heirs.


A will acts as a strategic tool for minimizing potential conflicts between family members by articulating the testator’s intentions and preventing default distributions under intestacy laws in the absence of a will.

Are Will Kits Legal in Canada?

Yes, will kits are legal in Canada. The legality of a will kit is contingent upon their adherence to the applicable laws and regulations governing estate planning in Canada. However, it’s essential for users to ensure that the will kit they choose complies with the specific legal requirements of the province or territory in which they reside, as estate laws can vary across different jurisdictions. 

While using a legal will kit is a legitimate option for creating essential estate planning documents, individuals with complex financial situations or specific legal considerations may benefit from seeking legal advice to ensure the legal documents created by the will kit are effective and legally valid.

Types of Will Kits

Will kits come in diverse forms, catering to a range of needs and preferences. Basic kits are simplified for uncomplicated estate planning, providing standard templates. Comprehensive kits are more advanced suitable for complex financial situations and specific wishes.

You will be about to find both free and paid will kits online, as well as some blank form kits that can be sent to your address. Online wills tends to be most popular these days, however if you create an online will, you must remember to print and sign it, as well as have it witnessed; you should also comply with other execution requirements in your jurisdiction. Online wills alone are not enforceable on their own. Users should also prioritize security and privacy to ensure the confidentiality of their personal and sensitive information.

What Makes a Valid Will

In Alberta, Canada, for a will to be legally enforceable, it must adhere to specific requirements. The individual creating the legal will, known as the testator, must be of sound mind to comprehend the document’s nature, understand the extent of their assets, identify individuals they wish to include and grasp the consequences of their decisions. They must be at least 18 years old, unless married or a member of a component of the Canadian Forces.

For a last will and testament to be legal, it must be in written form, either typed or handwritten, with the testator’s signature at the document’s end. If the testator cannot sign, someone else can sign in their presence and at their direction.

Two valid witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator, and it’s crucial that these two witnesses are neither beneficiaries, nor executors, nor spouses of beneficiaries or executors named in the will, to avoid potential validity issues. The new will should explicitly revoke any previous wills, and the testator should make it freely and voluntarily without undue influence or coercion from others. If any of these requirements are missing, the will you have created with the will kit will not be legally binding.


When a Will Kit Helpful

A will kit may serve as a valuable resource in specific circumstances, providing a practical and accessible solution for individuals who meet specific criteria.

Simple Estates

Will kits are particularly helpful for individuals with uncomplicated financial situations and straightforward wishes regarding the distribution of their assets. In cases where the estate is relatively simple, consisting of a modest number of assets and a clear intended distribution plan, a basic will kit can be a cost-effective and efficient option, provided all legal formalities are in place.

Initial Planning

For those in the early stages of estate planning, especially individuals who may not have complex financial portfolios or specific bequests, a will kit can serve as an initial step in formalizing basic wishes.

While will kits offer advantages in these scenarios, it’s crucial for individuals to assess their own situations and needs. Understanding the limitations of will kits, particularly in more complex situations, can help individuals make informed decisions about whether a will kit is the right tool for their estate planning requirements.

Why Will Kits May Not Be the Best Option

While will kits offer certain advantages, there are a few reasons and considerations why relying solely on a will kit may not be the optimal choice.

Complex Estate

Individuals with complex financial portfolios, multiple properties, or intricate family structures may find that will kits lack the depth needed to address the intricacies of their estate. Complex estates may involve considerations such as minor kids, dependants, business interests, international assets, or blended families, requiring a more nuanced approach to estate planning.

Legal Expertise

A will is a legal document, and while will kits are designed to be user-friendly, they assume a certain level of legal understanding. Individuals without a background in law may struggle with complex legal terms, potential pitfalls, or specific legal requirements that vary by jurisdiction.

Risk of Disputes

Errors in a self-drafted will can lead to disputes among beneficiaries. Such disputes may arise from unclear language, ambiguous terms, or unintentional omissions, potentially causing emotional strain and legal challenges.

Changes in Legislation

Legal requirements surrounding wills may change over time, and will kits may not always reflect the most up-to-date legislative standards. Using an outdated template may lead to unintended consequences.

Emotional Considerations

Estate planning involves emotional and familial considerations that may not be adequately addressed in a generic will kit. Sensitivities surrounding family dynamics and personal relationships may require a more nuanced approach.

Specific Circumstances

Some individuals may have unique circumstances that demand specialized attention, such as providing for kids or individuals with special needs, addressing international assets, or incorporating specific cultural or religious considerations.

Understanding the limitations of free will kits also emphasizes the importance of considering individual circumstances when choosing the appropriate method for estate planning. While will kits can be suitable for certain situations, seeking professional legal advice ensures a more comprehensive, personalized, and legally sound approach to creating a last will.

The Real Cost of Will Kits

While will kits may seem like a cost-effective option for basic estate planning, they can have hidden costs which, in the end, may make them more expensive than hiring a lawyer in the first place. This can happen when the complexity of your estate and specific estate planning needs surpass the capabilities of generic templates.

Will kits often offer a one-size-fits-all approach, lacking the customization required for intricate circumstances such as multiple properties, business interests, or specific legal nuances.

Estate lawyers provide valuable legal advice, ensuring your will addresses potential challenges and is in compliance with the law. They guide you through the execution process, minimizing the risk of contestation, and offer ongoing support for updates or revisions. The peace of mind and assurance that comes with the legal expertise of a lawyer may outweigh the initial cost difference, particularly when dealing with a more intricate estate plan or unique wishes.

Creating a Legal Will With a Lawyer

While it is not a strict legal requirement to enlist the services of a lawyer to create a will, several factors make consulting with a legal professional advantageous in ensuring the effectiveness and validity of the document.

Legal Expertise

Lawyers possess the knowledge and expertise to navigate complex legal issues related to estate planning. Their understanding of the intricacies of wills, probate laws, and relevant regulations ensures that the document is legally sound and complies with all necessary legal standards. They can also advise whether a will can be contested or amend established wills by drawing up codicils to wills.


A lawyer can tailor a will to address specific circumstances, such as complex family structures, blended families, business interests, or unique bequests. This level of customization may be challenging to achieve with generic will kits, ensuring that the final document accurately reflects the individual’s intentions.

Reduced Risk of Challenges

Professionally drafted wills are less likely to contain errors, reducing the risk of disputes among beneficiaries. Lawyers can provide clarity in language, address potential points of contention, and ensure that the document stands up to legal scrutiny.

Legal Updates

Lawyers stay abreast of changes in legislation and can incorporate the latest legal requirements into the will. This proactive approach helps ensure that the document remains current and in compliance with any updated legal standards.

Contingency Planning

Lawyers can assist individuals in considering and planning for potential contingencies that may not be adequately covered by generic will kits. This may include provisions for unforeseen events, changes in relationships, or addressing specific scenarios unique to the individual.

Witnessing and Notarization

Proper execution of a will often involves witnessing and notarization, and lawyers can guide individuals through this process. The presence of witnesses is crucial for establishing the validity of the will, and lawyers ensure that these formalities are correctly followed.

Communication of Intent

A lawyer can help ensure that the testator’s intentions are clearly communicated in the will. This is especially important in preventing potential challenges to the document’s validity, as clarity in language helps establish the testator’s true wishes.

Addressing Complex Assets

Individuals with complex financial portfolios, multiple properties, or intricate business holdings may benefit from legal advice in addressing the complexities of these assets within the will. Lawyers can provide insights into optimal estate planning strategies.

While some individuals may opt for will kits due to cost considerations or simplicity, those with more complex financial situations, specific wishes, or concerns about potential challenges to the will’s validity may find the expertise of a lawyer invaluable. Legal professionals ensure that the document not only meets the basic legal requirements but also provides a comprehensive and tailored approach to estate planning.

Creating a will is an essential part of planning your estate and ensuring that your last will is executed according to your wishes. An experienced wills and estates lawyer can help you navigate the often complex legal intricacies of drafting a legally binding will. Contact DLegal today. Their experienced wills and estate lawyers have intimate knowledge of estate law. They can assist you in drafting an appropriate will that meets your individual needs and circumstances.


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