Creating a Will in Canada: Quick Guide about Wills and Testaments
A will is a document that controls what happens to your estate, namely your assets and liabilities, after you die. It is a legal document that can be made by anyone over the age of majority, as long as they are of sound mind. In Canada, the estate laws that govern wills are set by the provinces and territories.
There are many reasons why you should create a will. A will allows you to specify who you want to receive your property and assets, which can avoid conflict among family members. A will can also make sure that your minor children are taken care of by the guardian of your choice. And finally, having a will in place means that your loved ones won’t have to go through the added stress of deciding what happens to your property after you’re gone.
When creating a Will, there are some important things to keep in mind:
- First, make sure that you consider what should happen with all of your assets. This includes any real estate property, investments, bank accounts, and personal belongings.
- Second, make sure that you identify your beneficiaries. A beneficiary is someone who will receive your assets after you die. You can name anyone you want as a beneficiary, including your spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, or charities.
- Third, make sure that you name an executor for your will. An executor (or estate representative) is the person or the persons who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you die. It is important to choose someone you trust to be your executor, as they will have a lot of work to do.
- Fourth, after you make your Will make sure that you keep it in a safe place. You should keep your original will in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death. You can also give copies of your will to your executor or a professional.
Creating a will is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are carried out after you die. By taking the time to create a will now, you can avoid a lot of stress and conflict for your loved ones later on.
Introduction: What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets out how you want your estate to be distributed after you die. You can also use a will to appoint a guardian for your minor children and to name an executor to carry out your wishes.
Making a will is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. It allows you to control what happens to your property and assets after you die and makes things much easier for your loved ones during a difficult time.
If you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to the laws of your province or territory. This may not be how you would have wanted things to be done and can cause problems for your loved ones.
Types of Wills in Canada
The types and acceptable forms of wills in Canada will vary depending on the province or territory you reside in.
In Ontario, for instance, you can typically have holograph (handwritten) wills or typewritten wills. Meanwhile, in Quebec for example, there are three types of wills: holograph wills, notarized wills, and wills before witnesses.
Holograph wills are handwritten and signed by the testator (the person making the will) and does not require witnesses. Meanwhile, typewritten wills are typed and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. Holograph wills are less formal than sealed wills, but they are just as valid.
To be valid, a will before witnesses requires that it is signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who are both present at the time of signing. The witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator.
You can find more information about the requirements for valid wills in your province or territory by visiting the appropriate resource on this government website’s page.
Why You Should Create a Will
When you die without a will in Canada, you die intestate. This means that the province or territory in which you reside will determine how your estate is distributed. If you have minor children, the laws of your province or territory will also determine who will raise them. Creating a will gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes and that your children will be raised by the guardians you have chosen.
There are many other reasons to create a will. A will allows you to name an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. Without a will, the court will appoint an administrator to handle your estate, which can be a costly and time-consuming process.
A will also allows you to take advantage of tax planning opportunities that can save your loved ones money. For example, if you have a large estate, you may be able to use trusts to minimize taxes.
When you are estate planning, you also have the opportunity to express your wishes regarding organ donation, funeral planning and burial or cremation arrangements. These are important decisions that should not be left to others.
Making a will is not difficult or necessarily expensive, and there are many resources available to help you. You can get started by talking to a lawyer or other professional who can help you understand the process and make sure that your wishes are carried out. Alternatively, a number of resources and solutions are now available online to simplify the process or to connect with a professional without having to leave your home. Online platforms that help you create a will online include Epilogue Wills and Law Depot.
Create a Will Online with Epilogue Wills
Epilogue is an online estate planning platform that allows you to create a Will in approximately 20 minutes. Epilogue can also be used to make Powers of Attorney and Social Media Wills as well. You can do it on your own, with the guidance of the platform, conveniently from home.
If you want to make sure that your family is provided for after your death but don’t want the hassle of hiring a lawyer or writing up a will yourself, Epilogue is an excellent solution.
Epilogue walks you through all the steps of creating a Will, from choosing beneficiaries and writing down the details of your estate plan, to naming guardians for children or pets. You can also provide instructions if beneficiaries predecease you. Once you visit their website, the process will involve the following:
- You click on “Start my Will” and after reading the page click on “Continue”.
- You select the province you reside in.
- You go through a series of interview questions asking for example your status (whether you have a spouse/partner or not), whether you have children, etc.
- Epilogue will then explain the type of Will it can help you create. If you decide to continue, you’ll be asked to create an account by entering your email and choosing a password.
The site makes it easy to change your will whenever you want by giving you access to all the vital information at any time.
FAQs about Wills in Canada
Why do I need a will?
In Canada, a will is a legal document that sets out how you want your assets and liabilities to be distributed after you die. If you die without a will, the laws of intestacy in your province or territory will determine how your estate is distributed. This may not be in accordance with your wishes.
What should I include in my will?
Generally, your will should at least include the following:
- Your full legal name
- The names of the people you wish to appoint as your executor(s) and alternate executor(s)
- The names of the people you wish to receive your property and assets (your beneficiaries)
- Any specific gifts you wish to leave to particular beneficiaries
- Instructions regarding the care of any minor children
- Signatures of two witnesses who are not executor or beneficiaries (or their respective spouses or other family members) if your will is typewritten / before witnesses
How do I make my will legally binding?
Your will is only legally binding if it follows the laws and regulations that govern wills and testaments in your province or territory. The simplest form of a will is a handwritten will, also known as a holograph, that you handwrite completely yourself and sign. Other types of valid wills can include typewritten wills before two witnesses and notarized wills.