Holographic wills are handwritten wills that have been signed. They are valid, legal documents in Alberta if they clearly show the intention to leave gifts after death.
We do not recommend using a holographic will. They are often incomplete and difficult to enforce if they are disputed. Without the help of an experienced will lawyer, people may be unable to consider their estates comprehensively and to get their intentions across in an easily understandable manner. Having a holographic will is often the same as having no will at all.
Holographic Wills – When It’s Worth a Shot
If you truly cannot work with a wills and estates lawyer, perhaps due to financial constraints, but you want to ensure specific people receive specific items, a holographic will may give you a small chance of getting your wishes met.
The will must be in your handwriting and state that the document is your last will and testament. Include the date and a sentence stating that you are of sound mind and capable of making decisions for yourself.
Be as clear as you can when creating your will. Use full names as well as relationships so there is no ambiguity.
If you are giving a piece of property to one person and you know others would want that property, explain your reasons. If the will is disputed, this may help ensure your wishes are met.
If you are going to risk using a holographic will, be sure to name an executor to be your personal representative. You also want to make sure that the will covers your entire estate. This includes stating what you want to happen to the residue of the estate. If you have dependents under 18 years of age, you should also name guardians for them.
Be sure to ask your choices for personal representative and guardians if they want to take on these roles before naming them in the will. People are not required to accept these roles and if they refuse after your will comes into effect, the court will have to appoint others.
Proceed with Caution
So many things can go wrong when it comes to holographic wills that it really is best to work with a wills and estate lawyer. At the very least, do your research. Even if you use a wills kit, proceed with caution as you may not complete the will properly. You want to ensure your money, property, and dependents are taken care of the way you want them taken care of, which means ensuring your will is done correctly.