Area of Law: Wills, Estates and Powers of Attorney
Answer # 140
Types of WillsRegion: Ontario Answer # 140
There are two main types of Wills, attested Wills and holograph Wills. Both types of Wills perform the same function by allowing you to name people who will receive your property when you die, and name a personal representative to make sure that your wishes are carried out. The main difference between the two types of Wills is how they are written, and what things have to be done to make them legal.
An attested Will is the most common type of Will. It is sometimes also referred to as a ‘formal’ Will. “Attested” means that it is signed by witnesses. Every Will that is not completely handwritten by the person making the Will must be “attested” to be valid. Most attested Wills are typed or prepared on a computer, or are pre-printed “fill-in-the-blank” forms. An attested Will must be signed by the person making the Will in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign their names at the bottom of the Will. You and the two witnesses should also write your initials on each page of the Will. After signing the Will, the witnesses sign a written statement called an affidavit. In this statement, the witnesses must swear that they saw you sign the Will, and that they have no reason to believe that you were not capable of making the Will.
It is important to choose witnesses who are not receiving a gift in the Will. They should also not be spouses of anyone receiving a gift in your Will. If they are, they may have problems receiving their gifts.
A holograph Will is less formal than an attested Will. The main requirements of a holograph Will are that it must be entirely handwritten by the person making the Will, and it must be signed and dated. Unlike an attested Will, it does not require witnesses or affidavits, and can be prepared personally by the person making the Will. Although this appears to be the simplest option for preparing a Will, it is not a good idea for most people. These Wills may not be valid if they are unclear or missing important legal details.
If you want to prepare a Will yourself, “fill-in-the-blank” forms can be purchased. These are attested Wills because parts are typewritten and they must be signed by two witnesses.
For more information about Wills, visit the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website.
Wills are extremely important documents. For legal advice and help in preparing a Will, Powers of Attorney, or other estate issues, contact our preferred Wills & Estate lawyers and see who’s right for you:
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