Many Canadians ask us the same set of questions: How will you know that your will is legally valid?
Do you need a notary or a lawyer to make your will legally binding?
What will you do if your will is contested?
So for you to better understand your situation and before you create your estate plan, this article can clarify what makes your will valid and what you will do in case your will is contested.
How Do You Know That the Will You Created Is Legal and Valid
- You do not need a lawyer by your side when you create and sign your will as long as you are of the right and sound mind when you create it.
- You complied with the provincial laws regarding valid wills.
- If you created an online will, it would still bear the same legal weight as the one produced by a lawyer.
- If you typed your will, then it should be correctly witnessed for it to be legally valid.
- All wills can be contested. Regardless of who and how you made your will, it can still be contested.
- If your will is contested, the courts will be the ones to decide to uphold your wishes or not.
What Makes Your Will Legal in Canada
A will is a legal document where you can spell out what you want and how you want your estate to be divided when you pass away. Your estate includes everything that you financially possess, including your assets. You are just not allowed to distribute your life insurance policies, pensions, or joint assets to your beneficiaries.
With this in mind, you can choose to distribute your assets to specific individuals or even make legacy donations to certain charities or organisations.
If you already created other wills in the past, then your most updated and current will carry over the other will versions you made.
There are certain criteria in Canada by which you should abide so you can create a legal will despite the provincial languages and laws you have:
- You must have a sound mind, and your age should be the majority in your province, except for BC residents that should be at least 16 years old. If you\re under 16, then there are certain situations where you are allowed to make your legal will, such as having children or being married, or you are one of the armed forces.
- You must have a physical copy of your will (wills cannot be stored online).
- If you typed your will, the two witnesses should be present when you sign your will, and they, too, should sign to confirm they witnessed the signing. They are not required to sign in your presence, but you, as testator, should sign in the presence of attesting witnesses.
- Your signature (testator’s signature) should be placed at the end of your will. It is also best to put initials on each page of your will besides your signature on the last page. In some cases where someone should sign on your behalf, then it should be stated in the will that someone else signed the will in your (testator’s) presence.
- Your witnesses cannot be a beneficiary or even their spouse, and they cannot be an executor or their spouses. In case that the witness is named as beneficiary, then the special gift to that individual may be considered invalid. So, if you’re going to ask for witnesses, they should gain any benefits from your will.
Your will is a legal document that you, as the testator, can prepare by hand or through an online platform. There are also available Canadian will kits in stores. You also have the option to hire a lawyer to create it for you. But remember that even if your will has been masterfully prepared by the best lawyer in Canada, your will can still be contested, regardless of who and how you prepared it.
Ontario Wills can make your will preparation easier for you. With us, you will get clear instructions and quality advice from the best will and estate planning lawyers in Kanata. Contact us today for a videoconferencing session!