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Holographic Wills

In Canada, it is critical to put a plan in place to ensure that your desires are carried out and that your loved ones are cared for. One method is to create a will, which is a legal document that specifies how your possessions should be divided after your death.

But what if you don’t have the time to consult with a lawyer and have a will professionally drafted? Holography will be used in this situation. A holographic will is written, dated, and signed by the individual making the will’s handwriting (the “testator”).

Holographic wills are legally accepted to disperse your assets after your death in Canada.

How to make a holographic will in Canada

You should know a few things if you decide to construct a holographic will. Holographic wills must, first and foremost, be entirely written in your handwriting.

This means neither typing it nor having someone else write it for you are options. The will is expected to have a signature and date.

When creating a holographic will, no formalities must be fulfilled. No witnesses are required, and it does not need to be notarized. Holographic wills are a convenient solution for anyone who wants to draft a will fast and easily.

However, it is crucial to remember that holographic wills can be challenged in court if their validity is questioned. To improve the likelihood that your holographic will be approved by the courts, make it as explicit and precise as possible.

Here are some pointers for drafting a legally binding holographic will in Canada:

  1. Indicate unequivocally that the paper is your will and that you are of sound mind and memory.
  2. List every asset you have and how you want it distributed.
  3. Pick the individual who will be in charge of completing your will.
  4. Find a guardian if your children are not up to the legal age.
  5. Make certain that the will is signed and dated by you.
  6. It’s also a good idea to preserve your holographic will somewhere safe and easily accessible after death. You should also consider notifying your loved ones where the will is, so they know where to look for it.

Limitations of holographic wills in Canada

While holographic wills are a convenient choice, they are not without limits. Here are a few things to remember:

  1. Only a few provinces in Canada recognize holographic wills, including Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. If you live in another province, your holographic may not be recognized.
  2. Holographic wills can be difficult to decipher, especially if the handwriting is difficult to see if the will is not written clearly. You’re more likely to encounter legal difficulties as a result of this.
  3. Holographic wills do not offer the same level of security as properly prepared wills. If you have a complicated estate or want to ensure that your intentions are carried out exactly as you planned, having a will professionally make may be worth the extra time and price.
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Alternatives to holographic wills in Canada

Regarding future planning, having a will in place ensures that your possessions are distributed according to your preferences when you pass away. Holographic wills are practical, but they might not be the best solution for everyone.

If you want to ensure that your will is legally binding and will not be contested in court, you should examine the following options: 

Wills that are typed

A typed will is written using a computer or typewriter rather than handwritten. This is a fantastic alternative if you have poor handwriting or want to ensure that your will is easy to read. You must sign a typed will and at least two witnesses to be deemed legitimate.

Wills witnessed

A witnessed will, also known as a formal will, is a will that you write out, sign, and have witnessed by at least two other persons. The witnesses must also witness your signature on the will in person. This can provide additional protection and help keep your will from contested in court.

Online wills

If you’re comfortable with technology, you should draft an online will. Numerous websites and apps allow you to create a will that is enforceable from the comfort of your home. To ensure your will is genuine, research and select a recognized site.

Lawyer-drafted wills

If you have a complicated estate or want to ensure that your will is as complete as possible, you should consider having a lawyer create your will for you. A lawyer can assist you in negotiating the legal complexity of will-making and guarantee that your wishes are carried out legally.

While this choice may be more expensive than others, it can bring peace of mind knowing that your requests will be fulfilled exactly as you want.

Nuncupative or oral wills

These are wills that are stated aloud rather than written down. Nuncupative wills are only accepted under specific conditions, such as when a person is on their deathbed or a armed forces member.

Nuncupative wills must be uttered in front of at least two witnesses and reduced to paper within a specific time to be declared legal.

Video wills

Wills captured on video with a professional service or a smartphone are known as video wills. For persons with physical limitations who find writing challenging or want to be especially precise about their preferences, a video will be useful.

The video will be signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two other individuals to be valid, just like a typed or witnessed will.

Living wills

These are legal documents that specify your preferences for receiving end-of-life care. Advance care directives are similar to these documents. In contrast to a typical will, a living will takes effect while the testator is still alive.

This can be a viable alternative for those who want to guarantee that their medical preferences are carried out if they become incapacitated.

Joint wills

Wills created by two persons, usually married couples, that specify how their assets should be dispersed after both pass away are known as joint wills.

Joint wills might be a viable alternative for couples with a straightforward inheritance and want to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their preferences.

The legal process of dividing a person’s estate after death, known as probate, is commonly prevented by implementing joint wills. It’s vital to remember that changes to a joint will require the approval of both parties, so be sure you agree on the will’s provisions before signing.

Testamentary trusts

Are those made as a result of the successful implementation of someone’s will. For those who desire to set aside assets for the benefit of a specific person or group of persons, such as minor children or a family member with a disability, this can be a useful alternative.

With testamentary trusts, you can manage and distribute your assets after you pass away while giving your beneficiaries extra security.

Wills that self-prove

A will signed in front of a notary public, two witnesses, and the notary are considered to have self-proved. People who wish to make it as simple as possible for their will to be probated may find this to be a useful alternative (legally recognized).

A self-proving will can expedite the probate procedure by allowing the notary and witnesses to vouch for its validity.

Whatever form of will you pick, it’s critical to have a plan in place to ensure your loved ones are cared for when you’re gone. Don’t put off making a will; the sooner you do it, the better.

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September 21, 2023
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FAQs about holographic wills

What is a holographic will?

A fully handwritten will that is dated, signed, and dated in the maker's own handwriting is known as a holographic will (the "testator"). Several Canadian provinces, including Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, recognize holographic wills as a valid method of allocating your estate after your death.  

Does a holographic will need to be witnessed?

Holographic won't call for eyewitnesses. There are no set formalities that must be followed when making one, nor are they required to be notarized or signed by any witnesses. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that holographic wills may be more susceptible to legal challenges if there is any uncertainty about their legality. Make sure your holographic will is as precise and clear as possible to improve the likelihood that the courts will accept it.  

What is holographic will?

A holographic will is one that is totally written, dated, and signed in the maker's own handwriting (the "testator"). Several Canadian provinces, including Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, recognize holographic wills as a valid method of allocating your estate after your death. There are no particular formalities that must be followed while drafting a holographic will, and it is not necessary to have it witnessed or notarized. If there is any ambiguity regarding their legitimacy, they can be more open to legal challenges. Make sure your holographic will is as precise and clear as possible to improve the likelihood that the courts will accept it. 

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