Wills - Frequently Asked Questions

Is my handwritten will "legal" in Ontario?

Yes, if it meets certain legal requirements. A handwritten will is called a "holograph will". If your will is completely written out in your own handwriting and you sign and date it, then it may be a valid will in Ontario.  It is important that every word in your will be in your own handwriting. A pre-printed form that you fill in by hand is not a holograph will. You do not need witnesses for a holograph will. ACE recommends that you see a lawyer if you are preparing a will.


What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, it is called dying “intestate”.  Your property will be divided according to the Succession Law Reform Act which might be different from how you would have divided up your property.  Also, since there is no estate trustee to administer the estate, an application will have to be made to the court to appoint someone to act as your estate trustee.  This may take extra time and money.


Can the attorney named in my power of attorney for property make or change my will? 

No.  The Substitute Decisions Act clearly states that an attorney cannot make or change your will.  A power of attorney for property is only valid when you are alive while a will is valid only after your death. However, an attorney has a duty to determine whether an incapable person has a will and, if so, the provisions of the will.  In managing the property, they are required to take certain aspects of the will into consideration.