Signing And Witnessing Your Will

By: News Canada

(NC)-Signing and witnessing is critical to the legal validity of your Will and requirements differ from province to province.

Witnesses

You and your two witnesses sign the document in each other's presence and also initial each page.

Neither your beneficiaries (someone who benefits from your Will) nor their spouses should be witnesses.

As one or both witnesses may be called upon to give evidence as to the execution of your Will, they should be residents of Canada. It is recommended that your witnesses be younger in age than you.

In addition, a document required for the 'probate' of the Will (called an affidavit of execution) should be signed and sworn by one of the witnesses, shortly after the Will is signed.

A Regular Review

Once you have drafted your Will, don't allow it to become outdated. A Will drafted a few years ago reflects your thinking and lifestyle at that time. Consider what may have changed:

  • Tax laws - your Will should reflect the latest tax saving strategies.

  • Family circumstances - a birth, a death, or a move to a new province may indicate the need for a revision to your Will. Marriage necessitates a new Will.

  • Your investments - your stocks have increased (or decreased) in value. You have purchased property, acquired a work of art or started a small business.

  • Your wishes - you may now want to add a new beneficiary, change your Executor, or increase your support to organizations

If you do not have a Will, or if your Will has not been updated recently, perhaps it is time to meet with a lawyer and get the job done. Take the first step; call Ontario March of Dimes toll-free at 1-800-263-3463 x 383 for a free copy of 'My Personal Organizer' - a handy estate planning tool.

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