1. Decide how you want to make your will

What do I need to think about when making a will?
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1. Decide how you want to make your will

There are 3 ways to make a will.

Write a holograph will

A holograph will is one you write completely in your own handwriting. If you make a holograph will, make sure it states:

  • your full name
  • that it is your "last will and testament"
  • who you appoint as your estate trustee
  • what your wishes are

You don't need any witnesses. But you must sign it at the very end. And it's a good idea to put a date on it.

There is no cost to make a holograph will. But if it's not done correctly, it will not be valid. For example, it can't be typed, or part handwritten and part typed, or have any parts that are already printed like a form will.

Use a form will kit

A form will is one you make using a kit that you buy online or from a store. Make sure the kit is based on the law of Ontario. Will kits usually have blank parts that you have to fill in.

If you use a form will kit, make sure you follow all the rules for making a formal will. This means:  

  • The will must be dated.
  • You must sign the will in front of 2 witnesses.
  • Each witness must also sign the will in front of you and the other witness.
  • One of the witnesses should sign an affidavit of execution that confirms that you signed the will in front of both of the witnesses, who also signed the will.

The price of a form will kit ranges from $20 to $50 and sometimes much more. But using a will kit does not guarantee that your will is done correctly.

Hire a lawyer to make a formal will

A formal will is one that follows all the rules for making a will. This means:

  • The will must be dated.
  • You must sign the will in front of 2 witnesses who are not named in the will as beneficiaries.
  • Each witness must also sign the will in front of you and the other witness.
  • One of the witnesses should sign an affidavit of execution that confirms that you signed the will in front of both of the witnesses, who also signed the will.

Estate lawyers usually charge between $500 and $1,000 to make a basic will, power of attorney for property, and power of attorney for personal care. Their fee depends on how complicated your situation is. 

Your situation can be more complicated if you:

  • own property and assets in more than one country
  • have a business
  • have a dependant who needs long-term medical care or who is receiving government benefits
  • have children from a previous marriage
  • are living with a common-law partner and have a spouse you have not yet divorced

If you have a large or complicated estate, it's a good idea to talk to a financial advisor as well as an estates lawyer.

You May Also Need

Ontario Securities Commission
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
Reviewed: October 31, 2019

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