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June 03, 2022 by Nancy Ling
Partner Nancy Ling regularly advises clients in the practice areas of wills, trusts, estate and incapacity planning, estate administration, residential and commercial real estate, property matters, corporate transactions, and business law.
In this edition of Legal Matters, Nancy talks the pros and cons of creating a Will on your own.
People sometimes ask me if they need to see a lawyer to do a Will.
The short answer is no. However, the long answer is that there are costly mistakes that can result from a Will that is not properly done. Also, BC is not as forgiving as some other provinces as far as the formal requirements of a Will. In Alberta or Saskatchewan, for example, you can do a holograph Will, meaning that it is valid as long as it is entirely in your own handwriting and signed.
In BC, a Will is only valid if it is signed in the presence of two witnesses. If you wrote a Will at home by yourself, signed and dated it, that would not be considered a valid Will. However, an application can be made to the Court with your homemade document to ask the Court to cure it and recognize it as an official Will, as long as the Court is convinced that the document represents your fixed and final testamentary wishes.
Assuming you don't want your heirs to make an unnecessary Court application it is still advisable to get proper legal advice when making your estate plan.