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Did you know that of the three types of wills, only the Notarial Will is valid without needing to be probated by a court or a notary

Gilles is an 80 year-old retired widower who wants to plan his estate. He has three children and five grandchildren, who are all very dear to him. He owns his home, and has an RRSP and some investments. Gilles is very independent and does not like to trouble his family: he takes care of his own affairs, without bothering anyone!

Trying to save money, Gilles decides to prepare a Holographic Will, which means, a hand-written will. Gilles is persuaded that by not involving a notary, he will save some money, which he can then use to “spoil” his grandchildren. That evening, when discussing this decision with his son, the latter informs Gilles that he believes that a holographic will, to be valid, must be probated by a court or a notary.

Did you know that among the three types of wills, only a Notarial Will does not have to be probated by a court or a notary in order to be valid? Indeed, to meet the requirements of the law, a holographic will must meet two conditions: it must be entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. Therefore, it is not possible to use a computer or any technological device in writing it.

Besides the Holographic Will, there are two other types of wills: a Notarial Will and a Will before Witnesses (or, Will in the Presence of Witnesses). The Will before Witnesses must be written by the testator or a third party and signed in the presence of two witnesses. The two witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator. Unlike a holographic will, it is possible to use technological means to produce a Will before Witnesses.

At first glance, the Holographic Will may seem like a good idea to Gilles, because it does not cost anything at the time of preparing it, nor does it require the presence of other persons. However, upon his death, his heirs will have to probate it and this inevitably leads to delays and often results in higher costs. In addition, Gilles will have to find a safe place to store the will so that it is not lost, destroyed or damaged, because it is essential that his heirs have the original will at hand for the probation.

By writing a Notarial Will, Gilles benefits from the advice of a professional who could faithfully incorporate his wishes in the document. The notary will preserve the will in his study and provide a copy to the heirs when the time comes. Therefore, Gilles will avoid a lot of hassle for those he loves, and spare them the potential trouble of probate procedures.

Should you face such a situation or need further advice, do not hesitate to contact our Notary.