Formal Will

This is a typed document signed by you in the presence of at least two witnesses (who cannot be beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries). It is wise to have a formal will prepared by a lawyer – the cost is well worth it when you consider the potential problems you could create if improper wording is used or the document is not signed properly.

Holographic Will

This is a will prepared entirely in your own handwriting and signed by you. Holographic wills do not require any witnesses. Experts advise against the use of these types of wills, since they are frequently subject to misinterpretation and challenge. Additionally, some provinces do not even recognize holographic wills as legal documents.

Pre-Printed Forms/ Computer Programs

Another alternative—also not recommended—is preparing your will with one of the many pre-printed forms or computer programs currently available. They are inexpensive, but your savings are small compared to the legal costs your beneficiaries might have to pay to settle disputes over your affairs. Additionally, if your will is not worded properly, some of its provisions may be legally invalid. Simply stated, when you consider the consequences of not having a proper formal will, it’s just not worth using any shortcuts.

Additional Protection

A will is not the only legal document you need. There are several additional options – such as a living will and a power of attorney – that are also recommended.

Living Wills

Depending on where you live in Canada, a living will may also be referred to as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. A living will allows you to maintain control over your own health-care decisions, even when you can no longer make them yourself (due to illness, or if you become incapacitated). Through a living will, you may specify which types of treatment you do or do not want to receive. You may also appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself.

Most families are grateful for a living will, particularly when they are faced with difficult end-of-life choices. A living will can be a blessing to your family, because you will have chosen – in advance – the people whose judgment you trust to make your health care decisions. You will also have given them some guidance for making those decisions.

You should create your living will with the assistance of a lawyer. You should also discuss it with your family members and physician.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney gives the individual(s) you name the authority to manage your financial affairs and other matters.

Overall, there are many options available for your consideration. RKLaw can help you select the ones that are right for you.