The cost, time, and expense of having a proper will done up by a professional is worth it. Dying without a will or with an improperly documented will causes additional stress and hardship on your family during their time of grief. A properly executed will is like an insurance policy for your loved ones – it protects their future.
Your will is a basic component of your overall estate plan. It names your executor and provides them with directions for paying your debts, distributing your assets and handling other aspects of your estate. Your will may also:
- Name guardians for your children (minors or dependants)
- Provide instructions for your funeral
- Set out the terms of any trusts you are establishing
To write a will in Alberta you must:
- Be 18 years of age
- Be of sound mind
- Be free of undue influence by any other person
Types of wills
Nothing replaces a well thought out will and estate plan. You would be wise to have your will prepared professionally. While you can use a “will kit” to do your own, it’s easy to make a mistake that invalidates your will. It’s also possible that improper wording could make parts of your will invalid and your beneficiaries might face additional expenses to settle your estate.
Not all provinces recognize all type of wills. In Alberta, there are two common types of wills – form and holographic.
An English Form Will is the most common type in Canada:
- It may be written or typed, or a combination of both.
- You must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign.
- Your witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the will (or their spouses) as they will not be able to receive the bequest.
A Holographic Will is prepared in your handwriting:
- It may be signed by you with no witness necessary, although your signature may need to examined for validity.
- It does not need to say it is a will to qualify as a Holographic Will as long as the writing shows testamentary intent.
- A Holographic Codicil can amend or revoke a formal will.