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Electronic wills versus handwritten wills

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2022 | Wills

Now that most things are done with the use of technology, some people might be wondering how it could affect estate planning. There are definitive rules for creating wills in Ontario. Some people still wish to write their wills in their own handwriting, known as a holographic will, and in Ontario, that is valid as long as it’s in the testator’s own handwriting and is signed by the testator. But, what if a will is prepared by a testator using his or her computer? That can be a dicey issue since Ontario has no case law that says a will typed on a computer constitutes a valid will.

To be succinct, the Ontario government does not consider any electronic documents signed only by the testator as being valid. Apparently, there is too much at risk, and such wills could include the following:

  • Abuse
  • Fraud
  • Lack of consent

Ontario law currently states that an electronic will has to be signed by the testator and witnessed by two people who were there to see the testator sign the document. That means, if a typewritten will didn’t follow those guidelines, the courts may deem it to be invalid.

Handwritten wills

A court will, however, accept a handwritten or holographic will. The rationale for accepting a handwritten will is its personal elements. Handwriting is distinctive, and a will can usually be authenticated as one written by the testator.

With so much typically at stake when creating a comprehensive estate plan, including the drafting of a will, avoiding potential missteps can prove critical. Ontario residents looking to create their wills on a computer would be wise to obtain legal support to ensure the will is valid. An experienced lawyer can also carefully analyze one’s unique situation to ensure all critical items are ultimately included in the will.


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