VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Today online will provider Willful executed the first fully digital will in Canadian history under new legislation which allows for the electronic signing, virtual witnessing, and online storage of wills. British Columbia is the first province in Canada to pass digital will legislation, making it the only province to permanently allow for wills to be executed online. In an AngusReid survey commissioned in November 2021, 35 per cent of BC residents said they prefer to execute a will online vs. on paper. Willful has partnered with DocuSign to launch a new pilot program offering fully digital will creation and execution for BC residents, a program that is approved by the Law Society of BC as part of their Innovation Sandbox program.
"As an online will platform, our biggest limitation has always been the law, not technology, so we're pleased to see this common sense modernization that aligns with what today's consumer expects: a fully digital experience," says Erin Bury, co-founder and CEO, Willful. "We're also thrilled to partner with the best-in-class electronic signature solution, DocuSign, to help reduce the barriers for the millions of BC residents who don't have a will."
The new legislation, Bill 21, amends the existing Wills, Estates and Succession Act. It was tabled and approved after COVID-19 social distancing rules made it difficult to follow the requirements to sign a printed copy of a will in the physical presence of witnesses who are not beneficiaries. The Bill received Royal Assent in August 2020, but only came into effect today. Willful's pilot program will allow customers to create and execute their will fully online for the first time, with Willful facilitating the electronic signing and witnessing of their will via DocuSign eSignature. Willful data from AngusReid shows 58 per cent of BC residents don't have a will, and that number jumps to 90 per cent among those under 35.
"DocuSign has always been committed to providing Canadians a secure way to sign documents anywhere they are, and we're thrilled to partner with Willful to embrace new electronic signature use cases, which will make it more convenient and accessible for anyone to create their will from home, without requiring printer or paper," said Dan Kagan, VP and GM of DocuSign Canada. "DocuSign's security and audit features will also help reduce issues associated with paper wills, including fraud and duress."
The first digital will in BC was executed by Willful customer, Samantha Dixon. Willful data from AngusReid shows 10 per cent of wills are out of date, so BC residents can either create their first will, or update an outdated one, using these new rules. Willful has helped customers in BC create thousands of wills, but this marks the first will it has helped to execute completely digitally.
"Up until now, the will-signing process has been inconvenient and, quite frankly, stuck in the past," said Samantha Dixon, Willful customer. "This new process makes estate planning convenient and extremely efficient for people like me to draft their will, source a virtual witness, and keep it updated over time. Best of all, you and your loved ones will know exactly where to locate it when needed."
Willful launched in 2017, and has helped Canadians create over 100,000 wills and power of attorney documents across eight provinces. The company has also generated over 7,000 gifts to charity in wills, with over $30 million in cash gifts alone.
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Willful is on a mission to change the way Canadians prepare for and deal with death. Their first product is an online platform that makes it affordable, convenient, and easy for Canadians to create a legal will online. The platform provides simplified estate planning services, enabling consumers to create a will and/or power of attorney by following a clear step-by-step process. Willful's platform was developed in collaboration with leading estate lawyers, and has pricing plans starting at $99. Willful is based in Toronto, and it is currently available to residents of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba. Since launching in 2017, Willful has helped Canadians create over 100,000 documents. To get started, visit willful.co.
Kayla Ciaschi, Willful, +1 647.985.9109, [email protected]