Writing Your Own Will

May 21, 2021

If done right, yes. In Alberta, there are a few ways to go about creating a Will. These include handwritten (AKA holographic) Wills, online or paper do-it-yourself kits, or enlisting a Wills & Estates lawyer. While not all provinces or territories across Canada recognize handwritten Wills, the province of Alberta does accept a Will that has been written by hand. In most cases, this type of Will is written in emergency situations where there’s limited time. Keep in mind that if you choose to write your own Will, it’s very important that you state your wishes as clearly as possible. If something in your Will is not clear, it becomes open to interpretation, which can result in your wishes not being fulfilled and increase the chance of a legal dispute. In order for a handwritten Will to be valid, it must meet the following standards:

  • Written in your own handwriting (NOT typed)
  • Signed by you (you do not need a witness),
  • Easy to locate (a Will that is hidden may never be found),
  • Written of your own free will (without duress or coercion), and
  • You (the testator) must be 18 years of age and of sound mind.

A truly ironclad Will requires careful planning, knowledge, and expertise. Wills and Estates law is complex, and it’s easy to overlook important factors that, if missed, could significantly impact your loved ones. For example, there are special considerations for blended families, children, dependents with special needs, and business ownership—the list goes on. A properly written Will names a Personal Representative (also known as an executor), who will be responsible for taking care of all your financial matters, distributing your assets, and ensuring all your last wishes are fulfilled. If that person has not been named in your Will, your estate won’t be released until the Courts have named a person to administer your estate. This can be a lengthy and complicated process for your loved ones.

Wondering if your Will is valid? Have questions about what type of Will is right for you? When in doubt, it is always best to consult an experienced Wills and Estates lawyer. At Litco Law, it won’t cost you anything to speak to a lawyer and get answers to all your burning legal questions! Give us a call or email, or send us a message in the chat. We’ll always get back to you within 24 hours, or by the next business day on weekends.

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