An overwhelming majority (89%) of British Columbia residents think it’s already legal to sign your will online. Ironically, under the current Wills, Estates, & Succession Act, estate planning is vastly an offline process, meaning you cannot sign or store your will online. While you’ve always been able to create your will online with digital platforms like, Willful, challenges of offline processes to make these documents official, such as printing, accessibility, and witnessing were highlighted by COVID-19.
But as of December 1st, 2021, Bill 21 will come into effect in British Columbia, becoming the first Canadian province to allow residents to sign, witness, and store their wills completely online.
Electronic wills in BC
British Columbia has seen historic development in the estate planning space during COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, in the spring of 2020, the B.C. government carried out emergency measures permitting a will-maker and witnesses to the will to be virtually present (instead of physically present) to sign a will. Bill 21, once it comes into effect, will adopt these changes to stay past the COVID emergency order and revise the current legislation.
So, what will Bill 21 allow?
Bill 21 is a piece of legislation that amends the Wills, Estates, & Succession Act. It will permit:
● Digital signatures: Bill 21 will introduce the ability to sign the document online using a platform like DocuSign instead of signing on paper with ink.
● Virtual witnessing: Once Bill 21 comes into effect, BC residents will permanently be able to meet with witnesses on video platforms like Zoom.
● Digital storage of wills: Bil 21 will grant the ability for BC residents to record and store their will electronically rather than keeping a physical copy.
● Digital revocation: The new legislation will allow for digital revocation of a will. It will outline how you can update a digital will and revoke a previous version.
Making your will online
Online will platforms, like Willful, are ecstatic for Bill 21 to come into effect. A study commissioned by Willful showed that 58% of British Columbians have not yet created a will. Willful’s goal is simple: to ensure that every Canadian has a will. Bill 21 is a big step towards making it easier for Canadians to make a will.
Willful makes it easy for Canadians to make a legal will without the hassle of visiting a lawyer or notary. Not only are online wills easy to use and affordable, but you can make your will in less than 20 minutes from the comfort of your home. Some of the benefits of using an online will platform like Willful include:
● A customized legal document that is built based on your unique life situation
● A logic-based platform that guides you every step of the way
● Expert support by phone, email, or chat
● Free and unlimited updates to your will as your life changes
● Free registration with CanadaWillRegistry.org
● No surprise fees!
Will-writing platforms like Willful, in step with Bill 21 in British Columbia, are transforming how Canadians create their legal wills. Digital wills provide increased security, better accessibility, and ease of completion, allowing many more Canadians to plan for their end-of-life wishes.
By Willful's Digital Marketing Specialist, Jessica