A simple will for peace of mind
ATB Financial partners with Willful to help bring easy and affordable will creation to all Albertans
By ATB Financial 27 September 2022 4 min read
Pricing and plan inclusions accurate at time of publication on September 27, 2022; please check with Willful for current offers and/or the details of your existing plan.
A will is more than just a legal document. Your will (or last will and testament) is your opportunity to ensure your wishes are honoured after your death. Without a will, your children, common-law partner or other dependents could be left vulnerable and your estate without a chosen executor. Despite that sobering reality, research shows around 55% of Albertans do not have a will.
For Angela Wood, an Everyday Financial advisor at ATB Financial, will creation has long been on her mind but the cost was a major barrier.
“To be honest, the cost of preparing a will with a lawyer was an impediment for me,” says Wood.
Still, in her role as a 360 Relief Solutions Advisor at ATB, she’s seen firsthand just how important wills were.
“I have witnessed situations where banks couldn’t give information to families right away because there wasn’t a will,” she recalls. “I would talk to clients about how important it is, but I never took my own advice.”
Then, through an internal promotion with ATB Financial, she heard about Willful, an online will platform that lets users create a will, starting from $99. Wood says she jumped at the chance.
The process, she says, was simple. She answered questions about her beneficiary, her executor, distribution of her assets and then the software used her answers to create a legal will.
“I was surprised at the end to see how professional it looked because the questions were so simple,” she says. “And now, I feel confident my family’s future is protected.”
Hoping to increase the number of Albertans who, like Woods, needed support to get a will in place, ATB is now offering a discount to the general public - 20% off of Willful for Albertans with uncomplicated estates.
ATB’s partner discount also applies to Willful’s power of attorney documents, which allows you to appoint and instruct a power of attorney should you become incapacitated.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Erin Bury, the CEO of Willful, and her husband were inspired to start the company after her husband’s uncle passed away and didn’t have a will.
“His family had a lot of unanswered questions at a time when they were grieving,” she explains.
Realizing that finding a lawyer, traveling to their office and spending hundreds in lawyer fees were barriers to will creation, Bury and her husband Kevin Oulds created a service that lets users make a will in about 20 minutes, from their own home computer.
The software asks users questions about how they wish to pass on their assets, and also provides some legal and tax information to guide them through decisions.
“We guide them through appointing key roles, including guardians for minor children and pets,” Bury explains.
Online will platforms offer unique benefits
One major benefit of Willful, compared to the traditional process for will creation, is that the company partners with estate law firms in each province. That makes it easy to adapt an existing will if a person moves provinces.
“You just change the province, from Ontario to Alberta, for example, and the software automatically updates all of the provincial legislative nuances,” says Bury.
Another advantage is users can update their will for free throughout their life. Once the will is created, a user may wish to update their will after they purchase a house or have a child, for example.
Or, as Wood explains, “I love how I can make changes to my will anytime and in the comfort of my home. I don't have to book an appointment with a lawyer.”
It was the ease of the client experience that drew ATB to partner with Willful says Trent Hamans, Vice President, Private Banking & Wealth Planning at ATB Financial.
“The simple client experience and reasonably priced product has put quality estate planning documents within reach of many Albertans,” says Hamans.
It’s also why ATB Financial has chosen to offer the 20% discount not just to ATB’s clients, but to any community member.
“Delivering peace of mind for families is too important to only provide for ATB clients,” he says. “We want to help all Albertans.”
Willful’s software is designed to work well for most situations, however, it may not be ideal for people who have complex estates, such as homes in multiple countries. To find out if Willful is right for you visit atb.com/Willful.
Many of ATB’s clients with significant wealth are over 55 years old. ATB Financial’s broader Wealth Transfer initiative is designed to help clients protect and secure their wealth, for the next generation.
If your goal is to protect your financial future, Hamans recommends talking with a financial advisor about estate planning goals, investment strategies, and tax considerations, in addition to creating a will.