Formal Requirements of a Will

Do you know what is formally required of a will?

Have you ever considered attempting to prepare your own Will without the advice from a lawyer? If you have, do you know the formal requirements for making a valid Will in Ontario?

To be valid, a Will must be in writing, signed by the testator, in the presence of two witnesses who sign in the presence of each other. There are restrictions as to who the witnesses can be. The witness to a Will may not be a beneficiary of the Estate or a spouse of a beneficiary.

A holograph Will is a Will written in the handwriting of the testator and in this limited case, the Will requires no witnesses. If you are using a stationer’s form, this is not a holograph Will and will require two witnesses (otherwise only the handwritten portions may be considered). If you prepare your own Will on your computer – this is not a holograph Will as it is not in your handwriting. The computer generated Will that you prepare will require two witnesses.

A Will is revoked by marriage of the testator unless the Will was stated to be made in contemplation of marriage.

It is strongly recommended not to attempt to prepare your own Will. A lawyer can help you prepare a Will that is a legal and enforceable document. A document which will avoid provisions which could lead to ambiguities or fail to provide for all reasonable contingencies. It will be a document which will contain appropriate administrative provisions to allow your trustee to deal with assets.

In order to prepare your Will, your lawyer will need to know all of your finances. Not providing full disclosure to your lawyer will mean that she doesn’t have all of the information to properly draft a Will.

Before meeting with your lawyer about your Will, consider what your intentions are in order that you may express them clearly to your lawyer. Be sure to consider what you would want to occur in the event the person you name to receive a gift under the Will predeceases you – that is, provide for contingencies.

On my website you will find a Will Questionnaire . If you print and complete this document, you will be able to provide your lawyer with information regarding your family and your finances. Contact Golden Law Office and make an appointment to complete your Will.