Dying without a will can leave your family in a precarious position. Without a last will and testament to outline your final wishes when it comes to the dispersion of your estate, your family could find themselves in probate court. While many people think they can simply draft a will at home, these documents may not be considered valid. Here are three things you need to ensure your last will and testament will be found valid in a court of law.
1. Signatures From Witnesses
In order for your will to be considered valid, it's essential that a court has the ability to prove the will actually belonged to you. To prove this point, valid wills require the signatures of at least two witnesses.
Since the witnesses' signatures verify that they know the last will and testament is the document you have approved, it's essential that you sign the legal document in front of the witnesses. This will ensure that the signatures are affixed to the document you prepared, not a copy that has been altered.
2. Notary's Seal
If you reside in Quebec, you must have a notarial will in order for the court's to honor your last wishes. Notarial wills are prepared by a notary public, and these documents must be signed in the presence of the notary to be valid. Since the notary counts as a witness, you only need one additional witness to ensure that your last will and testament is valid in Quebec.
3. Only One Testator
Although you and your spouse might share many things, you cannot share a will. According to Canadian law, each testator (individual whose assets are being distributed through the will) must have a separate legal document outlining their final wishes.
If you and your spouse attempt to combine your wills into single documents, the court will not recognize the will as valid. Having a lawyer assist you in the preparation of separate wills that will cover the dispersion of all of your assets in the event that either you, your spouse, or both of you pass away is the easiest way to ensure your wills are valid.
Having a valid will is important if you want to ensure your family honors your final wishes. Be sure that you have two witnesses, or one witness and a notary's seal if you live in Quebec, and a single testator listed on each will to ensure that your last will and testament will be deemed valid.