Revoking a Will
In the next series of blogs, I’m going to be talking about legal Wills. In a previous blog, I talked about what an “estate” is and what kinds of assets / properties go into it and what kinds of assets / properties can be transferred outside of it. And in a subsequent blog, I discussed some of the formalities that are required for a Will to be valid and legal and enforceable in Canada. In this blog, I’ll be talking about revoking and amending a Will.
Keep in mind: this information is not legal advice, but merely provided for educational purposes only.
So here’s the thing about revoking a Will: a properly executed Will is revocable EVEN IF it says it isn’t. That’s right: all Wills are inherently revokable. A Will is not a contract. It’s an expression of someone’s wishes. And there’s nothing that can be said or done to bind someone to their Will. Now, with that said, if a Will is revoked but there was a separate agreement with a term or condition that says that the Will cannot be revoked, then the Will CAN STILL be revoked but the estate may be on the hook for any damages or penalties for breaching that term or condition.
Now, there are certain situations in which a Will can be revoked – either on purpose or inadvertently. In some provinces, for example, unless the Will says otherwise, preparing a Will and then getting married will automatically revoke the Will. Destroying a Will also revokes a Will. A Will that is destroyed by someone in the presence of a Testator and by his or her direction and with the intention to revoke it will also revoke a Will. A Testator / Testatrix who writes something that purports to revoke a Will, with an intention to revoke a Will, and executed in accordance with provincial legislation (e.g. signed in front of 2 appropriate witnesses, etc.) will also revoke a Will.
Altering a Will
Once a Will is executed (signed and witnessed, etc.), it cannot simply be altered by the Testator / Testatrix taking a blue pen and making changes. To legally alter a Will, there are a few ways to make this happen. First, the Testator / Testatrix can execute a new Will. Second, the Testator / Testatrix can execute a Codicil. A Codicil is an amending instrument to the existing Will which is prepared and executed like a Will but only refers to those parts that are being amended. Finally, a Testator / Testatrix can take a blue pen and make changes right on the Will, but must sign near the changes in the presence of witnesses (who must also subscribe as witnesses). These kinds of attestations are usually made in the corner of the page where the changes are made or some of the part of the Will near the changes. Keep in mind that there is a presumption that any changes made to a Will were made after it is executed; in order to rebut this presumption, the changes must be attested to in the presence of witnesses.
And if you don’t have an up-to-date and comprehensive legal Will, you can get one now by using our proprietary Will-O-Matic Wizard:
Just CLICK “Get Started” button now…
The Will-O-Matic is a very dynamic, comprehensive, and flexible online program that shows you how to write a Will. It has been featured in countless media spots (including the Globe and Mail, CTV News, National Post, and more). Over 20,000 people bought the Will-O-Matic since it was released in 2012. The Will-O-Matic is available for the following provinces:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
The first version of the Will-O-Matic was well-beyond anything else out there. And I noticed that some competitors were trying to copy us. That’s a great compliment. But they don’t have what we have. It took countless time, money and effort to make the Will-O-Matic what it is today. And here’s where we stand:
- The Will-O-Matic is based on provincial Wills laws. I haven’t seen anyone else go to that length. They tell you their product is good for “Canada”, but it’s not. They don’t use the right language. So why risk using their product.
- The Will-O-Matic is more comprehensive than anything else out there.
- I (a Canadian lawyer) created the Will-O-Matic.
- The Will-O-Matic allows you to edit for free for the first year; other products give you a one-shot type of deal (but you can always pay more to edit).
- The Will-O-Matic comes with comprehensive signing instructions to help you make sure you don’t enter the Will incorrectly and thereby render it invalid.
- The Will-O-Matic comes with a comprehensive and regularly updated eBook (for Ontario, it’s over 70 pages long!) about Wills in your Province. This just goes to show the level we go to when it comes to putting a high quality product on the market.
- The Will-O-Matic includes a personal information, assets and liabilities checklist to help you get organized.
- The Will-O-Matic is regularly updated (particularly when laws change).
So there you have it. A fantastic product that’s only getting better. So if you’re shopping around for online Will products – just remember about the above. We truly are the leader in online Wills in Canada.
How to Make a Will
So, if you’re looking to write your own Will, you can do so using the Will-O-Matic Wizard. This Wizard takes you through an online questionnaire. There’s loads of questions, tips, options, and guidance along the way. At the end of the process, you’re able to download your own .pdf Will.
A Will is simply a declaration of your wishes concerning your property and assets when you die. You can do things like appoint a representative of your estate, appoint someone to be responsible for your minor children, and explain how you want your assets to be divided when you pass (i.e. not according to government rules, but according to your own wishes).
Once you’ve make the Will using the Will-O-Matic Wizard, you must sign it properly in the presence of appropriate witnesses. Then, we suggest you keep the Will in a safe place and give your Estate Trustee access to know it and let him or her know where it is.