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Simple Will 

A will is a document that describes how you want your property and possessions to be dealt with after you die.

Everybody should have a will, but many people still need one. This can cause problems for their loved ones after they die. There are various forms of wills, one of which is a simple will.

You can use a simple will to appoint a guardian for your minor children, elect an executor to carry out your wishes and donate to charity.

A simple will can be written by anyone over the age of majority in Canada, which is 18 years old. You must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses. 

Creating a simple will is a relatively straightforward process, but it is essential to ensure that the document is prepared correctly to avoid legal challenges. If you die without a will, your properties will be distributed according to the laws of your province.

However, this may be different from how you would have wanted it to be distributed.

This article offers a detailed explanation of what a simple will is and how Canadians may write it. Also, it consists of answers to frequently asked questions about a simple will.

What is a simple will?

A simple will, also known as a basic will, is a legal document that specifies who will get your assets and things after your death. The individual that creates a will is referred to as a testator.

People who have candid financial circumstances are the ideal candidates for a simple will. It is a will that can be written by yourself and does not need the assistance of a lawyer. A significant number of people do need a simple will.

They include persons who desire to establish a trust, have substantial assets, and have assets in many states, to mention just a few examples of potential scenarios.

Making a simple will does not have to be difficult or time-consuming; having one may assure you that your intentions will be followed out after your death.

To ensure that your intentions are carried out, you will need to choose a personal representative, sometimes referred to as an executor.

In the event that your first candidate is unable to serve, you will also select a replacement. If your children are still minors, you may choose who you wish to be their legal guardians and who might replace them if necessary.

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How to write a simple will in Canada

A simple will may be written in any one of the following ways;

You may utilize a will-making tool that is accessible online.

A will-making tool gives you the ability to draft your will at a little or no cost, then allows you to download and print your will along with step-by-step instructions on how to ensure that your will complies with the laws of your province.

There are a number of platforms where you may write your will, but the vast majority of them will charge you a fee for their services. 

You have the option of writing it out by hand

This kind of will is referred to as a holographic will. A holographic will, often known as a “handwritten will,” is an alternative to a professionally drafted will. In certain provinces, holographic wills are challenging to validate in a court.

In order to be legally binding, holographic wills must adhere to specific standards in states that recognize them. 

Courts must decide whether the will was written by the testator and bears the testator’s signature to validate the will. No notary or witnesses are needed for a holographic will, so this makes it challenging to establish holographic wills in court.

You may use a will kit or template if you want to write your own will

A will kit contains a document with blanks to fill in, which you may use to draft your simple will. Typically, it enables you to fill in crucial information regarding your estate, such as who you are, who would be the executor of your estate, guardians for your children or pets, and beneficiaries of your properties. 

A will kit gives more excellent structure and support than a will that has been scribbled. Will kits, however, often cost money, and printed templates may sometimes provide the same challenges as a handwritten will.

Details included in a simple will

A simple will should include your full name and your signature, and it should also be dated. There should be an acknowledgment that you have read and fully understand the paper you are signing and that you are not being coerced into doing so.

If you want your will to be legitimate under the law, you need to make sure it satisfies certain conditions that you must follow. In your simple will, you should include the following;

Make it clear that the document in question is your will and contains your last desires

This demonstrates to the court that you want the document to act as your will and that it was not an error. In addition to this, you have the option of adding a declaration that revokes all wills that you created previously.

If you want specific individuals to inherit your stuff when you pass away, give them their names now

Beneficiaries are the term used for those you wish to inherit your properties and assets. Your beneficiaries may include members of your family, close friends, or even philanthropic organizations that are important to you.

Decide on who will carry out the requests included in your will

The individual that will be responsible for making sure your requests are filled is referred to as an executor. The executor of your will should be someone you can put your faith in, and someone you trust will distribute your properties according to your heart desires.

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If you have little children or pets that need supervision

In your will, you can appoint guardians that will take care of your children or pets in your absence. You can also share part of your properties with your guardians so they will be able to take adequate of them.

The will requires your signature

This aspect is of the utmost significance. Your signature is required for the legality of your will. Without your signature, your will be regarded as invalid.

Include the signatures of at least two witnesses on the document

The testator’s signature on the document serves as a commitment on the part of witnesses that the testator authored the will in question and that the testator had a sound mind at the time.

In addition, this demonstrates that the testator was not in any way swayed or influenced by any other person when they signed the will.

People who can make a simple will in Canada

If any of the following claims are true for you, a simple will is usually all that is necessary;

  • You are of age to create a will in the state where you live.
  • You do not come from a difficult family background.
  • You are in rather decent physical condition.
  • You do not anticipate having a tax liability related to your property after you pass away.
  • You are not concerned about the length of the probate process.

Ways to make sure your simple will is valid

Creating your own will is an option because of how quick and easy it is to do. You should know that the specifics of what a will has to include to be valid varies in every province in Canada.

To make sure that your simple will is valid, you need to check the laws of the state in which you are located and abide by them. In this category are items such as:

  • The testator must be within the legal age to write a simple will. In most provinces, the minimum age is 18. 
  • Identity of the testator. The name of the testator should be indicated in the simple will.
  • Authentication by the testator’s signature. The signature of a testator is essential to validate that the will was written and approved by you.
  • The absence of any kind of force, pressure, or fraud (you must know it is a will and sign it freely).
  • The appropriate amount of witnesses to validate your will. In Canada, the standard number of witnesses that should validate your will is a minimum of two.

The probate process for a simple will

After a person dies, their estate goes through a legal procedure called probate. A judge will monitor the process to ensure that your debts are paid, and your assets are distributed to the right persons.

Unfortunately, even the simplest of wills will likely need to go through probate processes, so it’s crucial that you choose a trustworthy executor to manage your assets during this time.

Having a will makes the probate procedure simpler. To start the probate process, the executor of your will must submit a petition to the court and submit a copy of the will itself. Next, the court will verify that your will was properly signed in the presence of witnesses.

Once the court validates a will, your executor may carry out the terms of the document. If you don’t choose an executor, the court will. The probate procedure might become more complicated if a person dies without a will.

Then, your property will be allocated per the laws of the state where you reside. The assets would have been distributed according to your wish if you had written a will.

Situations whereby only a simple will is not enough 

Most people may feel secure with a simple will. However, a simple will may not be enough protection if your estate or personal circumstances are very complex. A simple will may be necessary for a young single individual or a married couple without children and limited possessions. 

However, an individual’s level of complexity dictates the necessary level of sophistication for their last will. Some more things that may be included in a will are:

  • You’ve either been divorced or married again.
  • You are dealing with a challenging circumstance in your family (such as an estranged family member).
  • You have decided to establish a trust for your children in order to provide them with a certain sum of money at a predetermined age.
  • You wish to bequeath some land to your children, but you also want to give it to your future generations at some point.
  • You may also be responsible for the upbringing of stepchildren or children from a prior relationship.
  • You have real estate holdings in more than one province.
  • You want to decrease estate taxes, but you have a considerable amount of assets.

If any of the above situations relate to you, you must discuss the creation of your will with a legal professional. If you choose this route, you will have a greater chance of ensuring that each of your properties is accounted for.

The average cost of a simple will

There are different ways to write a will, and each of them will result in a different bill for its completion. The following is a list of several common choices;

Make your will using a software program available online

You have the choice of going with an option that does not cost you anything, or you may hire a service that creates wills online and offers extra help for your concerns. The price of one of them might go up to over one hundred dollars.

Obtain a kit for creating a will

Will kits may be purchased online from retailers for various prices depending on the platform you use and the will kit you choose.

Alternatively, there are certain websites on the internet that claim to provide “free” will kits, but in order to get them, you have to listen to sales pitches or participate in lengthy phone conversations.

Before you hand out any of your personal information, you should look into the legitimacy of the firm using a consumer review site. 

It is highly recommended that you have a lawyer or estate attorney draw out your will

Depending on where you reside, you can anticipate spending money to have a simple will be drawn out by an attorney. Prices may vary, but you should plan on spending at least that much. 

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Where to keep your simple will

In most cases, a probate court will need access to the original will in order to handle your estate. It is essential that you store your will in a secure yet easily accessible location. Keep your will in a safe fireproof, and watertight location.

After keeping your will, inform your executor (or someone else you trust) of the will’s location and other relevant details, such as how to access the will.

Also, if you have an attorney and an executor, it’s a good idea to provide them both with a signed copy. In the event that the original is lost or destroyed, the duplicates with your signatures on them will serve as proof of your intentions.

In the absence of a valid will, settling an individual’s assets may go differently than you wanted. 

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September 5, 2023
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FAQs about simple wills in Canada

What is a simple will?

A simple will is one of the most typical kinds of testamentary documents. In it, you make a declaration as to who you want to be in charge of your estate after you have passed away and your property and assets. Simple wills may take care of the distribution of property after your death, the naming of a guardian for your children, the placement of someone in charge of managing your children's financial affairs, and the choice of someone to function as the executor of your estate. Most individuals are of the opinion that in order for a will to be legally binding, it must be drafted by an attorney. But when it comes to creating a simple will, you can do it on your own without the help of an attorney. Nevertheless, for a Canadian who satisfies the criteria, a simple will provides enough protection, and writing such a will is not only uncomplicated but also quite affordable.

What happens if I die without a simple will?

Probate courts in every province handle the division of assets when someone dies, even if they have a valid will. The laws of the province will govern the probate court's distribution of your assets if you pass away without a will or trust declaring what should happen to your properties after you die. Depending on the province and the properties you leave behind, sharing your properties might take a few weeks or months.

Are will kits legal in Canada?

Yes, Will kits are legitimate in Canada. However, more than just filling out the blank form is needed to validate your will. The requirements for witnessing and signing the document make it legal. After filling the template obtained from the will kit, the will needs to be signed and witnessed in order for it to be considered legally binding in your province.

Simple Wills in Canada

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