Holographic Wills: What Are They?

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Valid Handwritten or Holographic Wills in Alberta

Wills that are handwritten by the testator are also known as holographic wills. As probate lawyers in Calgary, Alberta we often see wills that the testator wrote out by hand. They are often not witnessed and come in a variety of styles, lengths and varieties. People want to know if it is legal to hand write a will. The short answer is yes. A properly written will is legally binding on a person’s estate. However, the legality of a hand written is dependent on the drafting of the document. For more help call the wills lawyers at Kahane Law Office at 403-225-8810.

Handwritten Wills In Alberta

Alberta law has allowed for handwritten wills since 1926. It is important to note that not all Canadian provinces legally recognize the validity of handwritten wills. The statute that addresses handwritten wills in Alberta is the Wills and Succession Act. This Act sets out the specific laws as they relate to holographic wills. While Alberta courts have some discretion in interpreting a holographic will, it is important to ensure that the specific requirements required under the act are met for certainty around a holographic will’s validity.

How Handwritten Wills Go Wrong

The people creating their own wills by hand tend to lack legal training. This is not to say that people always lack the legal back ground to do so properly. However, there are a number of common mistakes that we see when people hand write will. For example, the most common holographic mistakes include the following:

  • The wrong wording used in the holographic will;
  • Changes made to the handwritten will at a later date;
  • The will is not all handwritten;
  • Missing clauses or additions create an intestacy despite the will’s partially valid nature;
  • Nonbinding changes or additions exist;
  • Someone else has drafted the holographic will; and lastly
  • The holographic will is valid but creates tax, estate or bequest problems.

Why A Lawyer Drafted May Be Better Than A Handwritten Will

Relatively speaking, a will is relatively inexpensive when you hire a lawyer. The cost of a will generally is a nominal portion of the costs to the estate when a improperly drafted will exists. Kahane Law Office Offers flat rate fees for drafting wills or will packages. Learn more about the cost of wills here. For example, below are some reasons you may consider hiring a lawyer in Alberta to draft your will:

Minor Beneficiaries In Holographic Wills

People do not always consider minor beneficiaries in their holographic wills. These minor beneficiary trusts allow for a controlled disbursement of the estates assets to minors. It is important to properly set up trusts for them when drafting a will. When our law firm prepares your will, we do not charge extra to set these trusts up. Also, some people write their holographic will not knowing that there will be a minor child that is the beneficiary of their estate.

Lawyers Ensure No Chance Of Intestacy

The language used in wills makes or breaks the legal usefulness of the will. When a person hand writes their will, they tend to write them without prior research or understanding of the law. Many handwritten wills only address a portion of the estate. This leave a portion of the estate that must undergo the legal intestacy procedure. This means that the un-gifted potion of the estate receives the same treatment as those with no will. This means that your personal representatives needs to apply both for probate and a letter of administration. In essence doubling the costs of administering the estate. Generally, this means thousands of dollars more.

Ensure You Address Your Last Wishes

Lawyer drafted wills will address all your concerns. Common laws and statutes dictate restrictions on directions set out in a will. The restrictions include prohibiting doing and even not doing certain things. Not addressing these laws, can invalidate part or all of your handwritten will in Alberta. A lawyer always asks questions and probes into what you want to happen after your passing. This allows the lawyer to ensure that your estate plan addresses all your wishes in a binding manner. Most people who hand write their own will do not understand the law enough to navigate these issues.

Holographic Wills With Problems Can Be Very Expensive

The greatest expenses with an estate is not the actual will document preparation. Failing to properly set up a holographic will can lead to uncertainty and invalidity. If a family member, or other beneficiary, contests the will, lawyers and the courts maybe involved. When this happens, the executor of the handwritten will in Alberta may have to hire a lawyer to defend the will. These costs can be very high in lengthily litigation. Unfortunatly, the emotional and financial nature of estate litigation tends to makes these matters more disputed than others. The costs for the lawyer who defends the will receive payment by the estate.

Holographic Wills: More Easily Challenged

An important component of a traditional will is the witness requirements. A traditional will requires the presence of two witnesses at the same time. This ensures a number of things. For example, it ensures that the person actually signed the will. A challenge as to the validity of the person’s signature is greatly reduced compared to a holographic will. Next, with witnesses, people who attended at the time of signing serve as witnesses to attest to the persons metal state. Lastly, a third example is that with witnesses, the possibility of someone someone later claiming that another person forced the signing is much less likely.

Hiring A Calgary Lawyer To Draft A Will

Avoid the problems of improperly drafting your handwritten will. While doing your own holographic will may be cheaper, it is not always less expensive. Flat rate fees combined with fast and friendly service ensures the proper drafting of your estate plan so ensure they properly meet your needs and wishes. Kahane Law Office is pleased to assist you in deciding if you need to make changes to your will based on these changes. Connect with us Today. Call 403-225-8810 (1-877-225-8817 toll free) or email us directly here.