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What are the requirements for a will to be valid in Canada?

A will is important to ensure that when a person dies, their assets are distributed by their wishes. If a person does not have a will, the property is distributed to the next of kin according to the law. This process can be more complicated for those left behind after death. The will may also specify the person’s preferences regarding who should take custody of the minor child after their death.

It is not mandatory to have a professionally prepared will in Canada, but it is highly advisable if you have any significant property. A person unfamiliar with the law may make mistakes that impose costs and anguish on those they leave behind. Do you want to know more about whether all wills must be probated in Canada? Read this article.

Our  Estate & Wills lawyers in Toronto also assist executors, or estate trustees, navigate the probate process seamlessly, including when obtaining a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with or without a Will and administration of estates.

The requirements for a will to be valid in Canada are: 

  1. It must be written in a physical form. This means that it must be written on paper instead of in a digital or electronic format.
  2. You must be over the age of majority and of sound mind. This means that you are considered an adult and are able to understand what you are doing when you make your will. Additionally, underage people can make a will if they are married, have children, or are a member of the armed forces.
  3. When making your will, you’ll need two witnesses to sign off on it. Normally, all three of you would have to be physically present in the same location. However, during the coronavirus emergency, Ontario has eased the rules to permit witnessing by video link, as long as one of the witnesses is a licensed lawyer or paralegal.
  4. Your witnesses can be any adult who is not named in your will. The person who is the beneficiary of the will of their spouse should not be a witness. This would invalidate the will in favour of that beneficiary.
  5. A less formal will, known as a holographic will, can also be valid without witnesses. It must be written entirely in your own handwriting and have your signature.
  6. In any kind of will, your signature must be at the very end of the will.

Want to know more about who gets first priority in probate in Canada? Read this article. LD Law is an experienced estate law company that can help you with your will. Contact us today to book a consultation.