Should I write my own Will?

A question we often get is:  “Should I write my own Will?”.  In Saskatchewan, there are two types of Wills which are valid:  a Formal Will and a Holographic Will.

A Holographic Will is entirely in the handwriting of the Will maker and only contains the signature of the Will maker.  A classic example of this type of Will is a handwritten note saying “Everything to my wife”.  A typed statement signed by the Will maker is not a valid Will in Saskatchewan.

A Formal Will is typed out and includes Wills prepared by lawyers and Wills done using a Will Kit.  This type of Will must be dated and the Will maker must sign it in front of two witnesses who also sign the Will.  Both witnesses must be present when the Will is signed and the witnesses must sign the Will in each other’s and the Will maker’s presence.

Many people consider writing their own Wills to avoid the expense of a seeing a lawyer, but it is important to realise that an improperly drafted Will may result in expenses to your estate which exceed any legal fees you may have paid a lawyer to draft your Will.

Wills are very important documents and the laws around Wills can be complex.  When you make your own Will, you take the risk that you may use language which does not clearly express your wishes.  You also take the risk that you may fail to consider and plan for things such as trusts for minors or what happens to your estate in the event of a family tragedy such as a fatal car accident.

If your Will is unclear, your estate may end up paying additional legal costs to have it interpreted.

Having a professional assist you with your Will ensures you have sound advice on how to make sure your assets end up where you want them to.