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Newfoundland Wills 101: Here are the Basics You Need to Know About Wills NL

October 9, 2022
Your quick start guide to Newfoundland Wills: From the beginner basics to making your own!
Written By Daniel GoldgutOctober 9, 2022

Hey Newfoundlanders,

Looking for estate planning help? Aren’t we all!

We know just how overwhelming and confusing navigating the world of Wills can be. We’ve seen it first hand since we used to be estate lawyers ourselves. But we’re also real humans, who despite being lawyers just hate all the unnecessary legal jargon that makes this already challenging process even harder. 

That’s why we’re here to guide you through navigating Newfoundland Wills. Keep reading to get answers to everything Wills NL – & we promise it’s all legal jargon free. 😉

Browse this content:

  1. What’s the definition of a “Last Will and Testament”?
  2. What’s the legal age to make a Will in Newfoundland?
  3. What happens if I die without a Will in Newfoundland?
  4. Do I need a lawyer to make my Will in Newfoundland?
  5. Are online Wills legal in Newfoundland?
  6. What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
  7. What is an Advance Health Care Directive?
  8. What is a Proof of Will?
  9. How much does it cost to make a Will in Newfoundland?
  10. How do I make a Will in Newfoundland & Labrador? Let’s get started.

Newfoundland Wills

What’s the definition of a “Last Will and Testament”? 

A Will, also known as a “Last Will and Testament”, is a legally binding document that outlines your final wishes for the distribution of your assets after you die.

A Will determines:

  • Who will take care of your minor children or pets
  • Who will receive your assets
  • Who will manage your estate when you’re gone

Read more about Will basics here

The legal age to make a Will varies across Canada, depending on the province you live in.

Newfoundland Wills

If you’re 17 years or older (and of sound mind,) you’re able to make a Will in Newfoundland. Keep in mind, exceptions can be made for anyone in the military and anyone who is legally married or emancipated. Now, we realize most 17-year-olds aren’t thinking about their own death. After all, you’re just starting to live life! But estate planning is a great practice to start at a young age

🙌Plus, if you make your Will with an online Will company in Newfoundland like Epilogue, you can always log in to your dashboard and update your documents anytime, for free.

What happens if I die without a Will in Newfoundland and Labrador?

When someone dies without a Will, it’s called dying “intestate.”

When someone dies intestate, they don’t get a say in important decisions like how their assets get distributed, who gets to be in charge of the process, and who will take care of any minor children.

The rules about how assets are distributed depend on the person’s family situation. Here are some of the rules that apply to someone who dies without a Will in Newfoundland:

  • A spouse and no children: The spouse gets everything.
  • A spouse and one child: One-half of the estate goes to the surviving spouse and the other half goes to the child.
  • A spouse and more than one child: One-third of the estate goes to the surviving spouse and the rest gets split among the children.
  • Children but no surviving spouse: Everything is split equally between children. If a child is not alive but has kids of their own who are alive (grandchildren of the person who died intestate), the deceased child’s portion is shared equally among them.
  • No living spouse or children: Everything goes to the deceased’s parents (or surviving parent, if there is only one). If the parents aren’t alive, everything gets split between the deceased’s siblings (or the children of a sibling who is not alive.)

If none of these scenarios look ideal to you, you must have a Will in place.

Do I need a lawyer to make my Will in Newfoundland & Labrador?

You do not necessarily need a lawyer to make your Will in Newfoundland & Labrador.

In most cases, as long as the testator (person making the Will) is at least 17 and is “of sound mind”, they can make a legal Will. In order for a Will to be legally valid, it has to be signed in the physical presence of two witnesses. Witnesses do not need to be lawyers or notaries.

However, there are some situations where it’s a good idea to get in touch with a lawyer to make a Will, including if a person:

  • Wants to exclude a spouse, child, or another dependant from their Will
  • Wants to distribute their assets unequally among their children
  • Is in a second marriage/common-law relationship but have children from a prior relationship
  • Has a family member who is receiving government disability benefits
  • Owns real estate outside the province that cannot be dealt with under a Newfoundland and Labrador Will
  • Want to engage in sophisticated tax planning

 

Newfoundland Wills

Absolutely! Newfoundland online Wills are becoming an increasingly popular option because they take the pain and price out of visiting a lawyer. 

🙌  Epilogue Wills offers a best-in-class online Will service in Newfoundland. 

Founded by two former tax and estate lawyers with over a decade of combined experience, an Epilogue Will gives you a lawyer-quality Will without the legal fees or in-person office visits. 

With Epilogue, you get: 

  • An easy-to-use, simple platform 
  • A personalized legal document that is based on your unique life situation
  • All in as little as 20 minutes
  • Free and unlimited updates to your Will 
  • No hidden fees!

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that authorizes someone to make decisions related to your financial affairs if you are mentally incapable of doing so yourself. To ensure you’re covered in the event of death or incapacity, it’s a good idea to complete a POA at the same time as your Will. Your Will and Enduring POA can be stored together.

Incapacity can be the result of many things like an accident or general cognitive decline that can occur with aging. People should always make an Enduring POA while they are still mentally capable.

The person appointed to make decisions is called the “attorney” (even though they don’t actually have to be a lawyer). They must be at least 19 years old and mentally competent.

🙌With Epilogue, you have the option of purchasing a Will-only package or one that includes both a Will and incapacity documents like an Enduring POA.

What is an Advance Health Care Directive?

An Advance Health Care Directive is a legal document that lets someone appoint an individual to make decisions about their personal and health care needs if they cannot make those decisions for themselves. This type of document is also referred to as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, Personal Directive, or Living Will, depending on the province.

🙌Epilogue also includes an easy option for an Advance Health Care Directive.)

Newfoundland Wills

What is a Proof of Will?

A Proof of Will (called an Affidavit of Execution in other provinces) is not a document that is required; however, it’s highly recommended.

A Proof of Will is a legal document that is signed by one of your witnesses as well as a legal professional like a lawyer or notary. It is evidence of the fact that a Will was signed correctly and the witnesses were physically present.

A Proof of Will can save a lot of time and money when it comes time for your executor to execute your Will. 

🙌Every Epilogue Will comes with a free Proof of Will document!

How much does it cost to make a Will in Newfoundland & Labrador?

If you go to a traditional estate planning lawyer in Newfoundland, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars (depending on the complexity) to make a Will. Plus, you’ll also have to pay every time you want to update it. That means an extra $250 an hour any time you buy a property, have another child, increase your wealth, or even adopt a pet). 

BUT, if you go with an NL online Will service like Epilogue, it costs under $200  – one time only, no matter how many updates you make. 

How do I make a Will in Newfoundland? Let’s get started. 

For anyone in this beautiful east coast province, creating a Will, Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive can now be done in four simple steps. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit https://epiloguewills.com and click “Start My Will
  2. Complete the questionnaire
  3. Generate your documents
  4. Print and sign them according to the detailed signing instructions included

If you still have questions or need any help, feel free to reach out to us anytime via the live chat in the bottom right corner or send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can! Please note we are not able to offer legal advice.

Written By Daniel Goldgut
Daniel Goldgut is the CEO and Co-Founder of Epilogue. In his previous life, he was a tax and estate planning lawyer for high and ultra-high net worth clients. Now, he's on a mission to democratize estate planning for all Canadians.