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Wills: How are they validated? Can I hand write my own?

Kanata CA personal injury, family, and real estate law firm

I made my own hand-written will few years ago. I believe it’s valid and truly reflects my wishes, however my financial advisor told me I should get a proper will drafted by a lawyer. Why should I do that?

Wills are legal documents that will dictate the distribution of assets after one’s passing and there are many reasons why wills should be prepared by a lawyer specializing in this area of law.

Formal validity

For wills to be valid and legally binding they have to be executed (signed) according to legal requirements. A lawyer preparing your will would ensure that the document is executed properly and therefore legally valid and binding.

Comprehensiveness

A lawyer can make sure your will deals with all important matters, such as appointment of executor(s) and alternate executor(s), distribution of your assets, appointment of custodians and guardians for your children and setting up trusts for minor beneficiaries. Your lawyer will also ensure your will gives executors enough powers to properly and efficiently administer your estate and follow your testamentary wishes.

Reflecting all your legal obligation

Under the law you are obliged to provide for your spouse and your dependants. Your lawyer can advise you of your obligations to such persons.

Clarity of language

A properly drafted will should use language that is clear and precise in order to prevent any issues with interpreting your instructions contained in the document. Your lawyer will make sure that proper language is being used to avoid any ambiguities and clearly reflect your intentions.

Preventing future challenges to your will

Having a lawyer draft your will significantly reduces any risk of future legal challenge to its validity based on your legal capacity or any undue influence. When your legal capacity might be an issue, your lawyer will gather and keep all the required evidence to prove you had the necessary legal capacity to make a will. He or she will also ensure there is no undue influence from any individuals, including family members that would affect any of the provisions of your will.

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