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Estate Litigation Lawyer

Should Ontario residents write their own wills?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Wills

No one relishes discussing dying. It’s a subject most Ontario residents would rather not broach, but it is important to do so even if it might be uncomfortable at first. There are many things people need to know about when it comes to estate planning, and wills are typically one of the main focuses. There are actually two types of wills in Ontario that are acceptable: a formal will and a holographic will.  

A formal will

This will is either typed out and drafted by lawyers or created from will kits. In Ontario, any type of recorded will is not valid, so video and audio wills are not permissible in court. The testator must be of sound mind and 18 years of age or older, and a formal will must be signed and witnessed by two people of legal age who aren’t beneficiaries of the will or the testator’s spouse.  

A holographic will

This is the way most people used to write their wills, and it’s still legally acceptable in Ontario. This will must be handwritten by the testator. As with any will, the testator must be of sound mind. This type of will does not have to be witnessed but must be signed by the testator. 

Many people say a will should never be written without legal help, and this is typically true unless the testator has few or no assets. Doing so could ultimately mean problems with estate administration, amongst other potential issues. Courts in Ontario are still wary of DIY wills, and the costs associated with clearing up potential problems can often outweigh having legal help from the outset.  


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