Is A Handwritten Will Legal In Canada?

A handwritten will or a holographic will is considered to be legal in many provinces in Canada. The only prerequisite for the court to accept a handwritten will is that the testator should write the will in his own handwriting and sign it. There should be enough evidence to prove that the testator has written his own will and not anyone else. This can be done with the help of other supporting documents that may contain his handwriting.

A unique advantage in writing a holographic will is that no witnesses are required. Unlike a formal will, you do not have to get witnesses to sign your legal document. You might require legal help to get a formal will, but a holographic will is purely written by the testator. It can be as concise as a single sentence. Take a look at the following example:

Bill Bryson an Alberta farmer, died after being pinned under his tractor. But before dying, he carved his will on the fender of the tractor. The court considered his will to be legal that said, “In case I die in this accident, I leave all to my son, Bill Bryson”.

Which Provinces Consider a Handwritten Will Legal?

The provinces that consider handwritten wills legal are Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland,and Saskatchewan. Holographic wills are not recognized in the province of British Columbia. But if the will was written outside British Columbia and the concerned property is within BC, then the will can be upheld by the court.

How is a Formal Will Different From a Holographic Will?

A formal will is usually typed out, whereas a holographic will is handwritten. In fact, for a holographic will to be legally acceptable, it needs to be handwritten and not typed out. One needs to take legal help to draft a formal will or create one using will kits. An audio or video recording is not acceptable as a formal will. Two witnesses need to sign a formal will for courts to recognize it. The witnesses to the will should be of legal age and cannot be beneficiaries of the will or spouse of the testator.

Lastly, whether it is a holographic will or a formal will, the testator has to be mentally sound and should not be a minor.

Are you planning to write a formal will? If yes, then consult with a legal expert at the earliest.