Maybe you’ve asked, “Can I write my own will?” We are not lawyers, but here’s what we know… It’s okay to write out a will by hand in many provinces, including Ontario, but all of it must be in your own handwriting. You must also sign it.
If you can have a lawyer write your will, that is always best, especially as your life gets more complicated, but if you have no will, and you don’t have the $600 to $1300 plus to spend on a lawyer to write a will, of course, something is better than nothing.
On 8 June 1948 in Saskatchewan, Canada, a farmer named Cecil George Harris who had become trapped under his own tractor carved a will into the tractor’s fender. It read:
“In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo. Harris.”
The fender was probated and stood as his will. The fender is currently on display at the law library of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law.
A valid holographic will must be entirely in the testator’s own handwriting. A fill in the blank form does not meet the requirements of a holographic will because it is not wholly in the testator’s own handwriting. A holographic will is a will and testament which is a holographic document, i.e., it has been entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. There must be evidence that the testator actually created the will, which can be proved through the use of witnesses, handwriting experts, or other methods.
In an emergency situation, holographic wills often show that the requirements for making a valid will are minimal. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the shortest will in the world as “Vše ženě” written in the Czech language, translates to, “everything to wife”, written on the bedroom wall of a man who realized his imminent death. It clearly meets the minimum requirements, being his own work and no one else’s.
We decided we wanted to sleep well tonight and took 25 minutes out of our day to write our holographic wills. They may not be perfect, but they will suffice until we have the time and money to sit down with a lawyer.
Even if you make your own will, have an expert review it. Most people need to go over their wills with an expert. An expert can also ensure your will is properly witnessed.
It’s easy to make a mistake and you won’t likely ever know. Sadly, it’s your loved ones who will feel the impact.
This article was written by Jessica Deaken and Sarah Bowie