Making a last will and testament can be extremely overwhelming to Ontarians, especially if it’s your first time creating one. However, the good news is, it’s not as hard as you think! In this article we will describe the basic principles of a legal will and what you need to know in order to make your own.

A will, also referred to as a last will and testament, is a document describing your wishes in the event that you pass away. A will essentially outlines how you would like to distribute your assets and property amongst your family and loved ones. It details who would receive your belongings, money and other sentiments that you may leave behind. It also names an executor and guardians for any children or dependents you may have.

For a will to be considered a legal document it must reach certain requirements. First, you, the testator, must create the will yourself when of sound mind and of legal age (over the age of 18). Your will cannot be created by another individual and you cannot create a will for someone else. Second, you must have two valid witnesses present when you sign your will. They must also sign the final page of your will together. Third, you must have a physical copy of your will and you must sign it in wet ink. Any will signed through an online format is not considered a valid legal document.

Having a will is similar to having an emergency plan in place in the event of your death. Since it contains your wishes, you can be certain that your assets and personal belongings will be well taken care of. It also saves your loved ones from having to undergo a long, expensive and challenging process of having to split your assets. In Ontario, if you pass away without a will, the provincial courts use the Succession Law Reform Act to determine how your assets will be distributed. In most cases, the way the courts would divide your assets would not follow your wishes or intentions. This is why it is encouraged by many in family law to create a last will and testament ahead of time.
Not only does it allow you to feel assured that your assets are taken care of, but it also alleviates the stress and burden off your family and loved ones.

So, how do you create a legal will? There are many options available that can help you make a last will and testament. This includes using a lawyer, an online will platform or even a will kit. Firstly, you can consult a lawyer to help you write your will especially if your requests are extremely specific or if you have a more complicated situation like multiple assets. Although it is not necessary in Ontario to have a lawyer-drafted will, it can be beneficial to have someone give you expert legal advice and guide you through the process. Secondly, another alternative to having a lawyer-drafted will is using an online will platform. Online will platforms are a great way to create a last will and testament easily and at an affordable price. This option allows you to create a will from home while having a guided platform to make sure you include everything you need. Finally, if you have simple wishes and assets, using a will kit may be the best option for you. Will kits are typically fill-in-the-blank templates that help you create a will quickly.
Ultimately, choose the option that suits your needs and situation.

At the end of the day, no matter how you create your will, it’s always best to have one! However, if you need expert legal advice, consult our legal team today and we can help you get started on your will.