Creating a Valid Will
What is the process for creating a valid Will? Note: The general requirements presented here are for informational purposes, you should obtain legal advice. The process for creating a legal and valid Will requires attention to detail but is not difficult.
Here are the basic requirements:
- A Will must be in writing.
- A person creating a Will must sign it with the intent of creating a Will.
- There must be two witnesses to the signing of a Will.
The following are NOT requirements:
- A lawyer is not required for any part of the process.
- A Will does not need to be notarized.
- A Will does not need to be filed with a court or any other agency.
- An Affidavit of Execution does not need to accompany a Will but should to assist the administration of your estate.
- A Will does not need to be printed on a specific type of paper.
- All provinces require that there be two witnesses to the signing of a Will. To be competent as witnesses, they must be over the age of 18 and must have the mental capacity to know that they are acting as witnesses to the Will and would be competent to testify regarding the signing of the Will.
Affidavit of Execution:
- An affidavit of execution appropriate for use in your province will be included with your Will. A Will accompanied with the affidavit of execution may be admitted to probate after your death without the testimony of your witnesses. This affidavit is included for completeness and though they are commonly signed, it is not required that the affidavit be signed in order for your Will to be valid. A notary’s or commissioner of oath’s signature is required on the affidavit. The affidavit may be completed at the time of the signing of the Will or at a later time, and should be kept in a safe place with the Will.
After the Signing:
- After the Will is signed; it should be placed in a safe place known to others. You may make photocopies of the Will and make these copies available to select people, such as the individuals or organizations named in your Will. Because of the likelihood that you will make changes to your Will in the future, you should be wary of providing copies of it to all of the people named in the Will. You should review your Will periodically, especially when your family or economic circumstances change substantially.
See a Lawyer
- Your Will is the most important document you will ever prepare and even if your estate is not overly complicated you should seek legal advise to assist you with the preparation of your Will.