What Makes a Valid Will in Ontario?
To make a valid Will in Ontario, you must consider these steps:
1. Determine that you are of sound mind and capable of making a Will. This means you understand the nature of your assets and the people who are likely to benefit from your Will.
2. Make a list of all your assets and debts. This includes real estate, personal property, investments, bank accounts, and any other assets you own.
3. Decide how you want your assets to be distributed after death. You may choose to leave specific assets to certain people, or you may divide your Estate equally or in some other way among your beneficiaries.
4. Choose an Executor (and we advise, an Alternative, too) for your Will. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after your death.
5. Next: either you do it yourself (with strict requirements) or you have it professionally prepared.
6. Write out your intentions using clear language and be specific about your wishes. Your Will should include your full name, address, and date of birth, as well as the names, addresses and even ages of your beneficiaries and the Executor (and your Alternative) you have chosen.
7. Sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries under your Will. Your witnesses must also sign your Will in your presence. There are risks with this process should your witnesses not be available after your death to confirm your Will is valid.
8. Store your Will in a safe and accessible place, such as a safety deposit box or with a lawyer.
It’s important to note that while it is possible to make your own Will, and drafting a handwritten Will is called a holographic testament, you do have to make sure that this Will is handwritten not typed and has no side notes, just the signature of yourself. It is also recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer who specializes in Estate Planning to ensure that your Will is valid and properly drafted. To learn more about Wills and their formats check out the links in our resource section
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.