General Guidance: How to Prepare Your Will in Ontario


General Guidance: How to Prepare Your Will in Ontario

Creating a will in Ontario, Canada involves certain legal requirements to ensure it is valid and effective, which would be used for future probation purpose after you pass away.

Here’s a general guidance, it’s essential to consult with a legal professional or a qualified estate planner to ensure your will complies with current laws and addresses your specific circumstances.

Below are the general steps you might take:

1. **Understand the Legal Requirements**: In Ontario, the Succession Law Reform Act governs the creation of wills. To create a valid will, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The will must be in writing, signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, and signed by the witnesses in your presence.

2. **Choose an Executor**: An executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. Choose someone trustworthy and capable of handling the responsibilities. You can also appoint an alternate executor in case the primary executor is unable or unwilling to fulfill the role.

3. **List Beneficiaries & General Assets**: Identify the beneficiaries who will inherit your assets, such as family members, friends, or charitable organizations. Make a general list of your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal belongings, and any other property you wish to distribute.

4. **Decide on Specific Gifts & Distributions**: Clearly outline how you want your assets to be distributed among your beneficiaries. You can make specific bequests (e.g., a certain sum of money, a particular item) or general distributions (e.g., dividing your estate equally among children).

5. **Appoint a Guardian (if necessary)**: If you have minor children (age below 18 years old), you can use your will to appoint a guardian to care for them in case both parents pass away.

6. **Consider Contingency Plans**: Plan for situations where your beneficiaries or executors might pass away before you do. Decide how you want your estate to be distributed in such cases.

7. **Draft the Will**: While you can draft your own will, it’s advisable to seek legal guidance to ensure that it adheres to legal requirements and addresses potential issues. A lawyer can help you craft a clear and legally valid document.

8. **Witnesses**: When you’re ready to sign your will, you must do so in the presence of two witnesses. Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries named in the will, as their inheritance might be impacted.

9. **Signing and Witnessing**: You, as the testator, will sign the will in the presence of both witnesses. Then, the witnesses will sign the will in your presence. This step is crucial for the will’s validity.

10. **Safekeeping**: Keep the original will in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. Inform your executor about the will’s location and how to access it.

11. **Review and Update**: Periodically review and update your will to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Major life events like marriage, divorce, births, deaths, or significant changes in your assets may necessitate updates.

This is a general overview and not a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws and regulations can change, and individual situations vary, so consulting with a legal professional in Ontario is highly recommended when preparing a will.

For more information, you can book your consultancy with JZW Law at Tel: 647-363-5995 or via Email at [email protected] or visit our website:

Thank you for your reading. The information provided herein does NOT constitute any legal opinion.