Tel: 416 767-CASS (2277)
Fax: 416-491-0273

Garry Cass, ext.207
Assistant: Josie Dobosz, ext. 277

I Can Do It Myself

Writing your own will, even with the help of a kit, can be a dangerous thing.

There are essentially three ways that you can make a Will yourself:

  1. A holograph Will written entirely in your own handwriting
  2. A will kit or a self help book
  3. Copying stuff from an old Will that was originally prepared by a lawyer sometime in the past.

Holographic Wills

Often a holographic Will is written by someone in a hurry, as in:

  • “I’m leaving the country tomorrow and  I need something in place in case I don’t come back! or
  • “I’m going in for an operation tomorrow; what if I don’t wake up?”

Since holographic Wills are often written in haste, they often cover only the highlights and leave many questions unanswered.

  • They probably include the obvious family members but may overlook distant relatives or charities that would otherwise be covered.
  • They may consider the disposition of  obvious assets and make no mention of paintings, jewellery, items that have sentimental value, or that have been put away

Fortunately, having written a holographic Will, people are often minded to write a more complete version. I often see people in this situation and prepare Wills for them.

Will kits and Self Help Books

Will kits and self help books are different and they share a different kind of danger because there is only so much information that can be covered in the package.

People who use kits are not expected to be lawyers which poses a second difficulty. The material is designed to be easy to follow, yet how can someone unfamiliar with our laws be expected to understand the impact of the decisions they are asked to make when the explanations are cursory and generic.

Here is something to think about:  if you are a do-it-yourself-er who handles your own car repairs, plumbing or maintenance, you know that some jobs are beyond your ability and that sometimes you need to call a professional to fix the repairs you made. And you will be there to explain what you tried to achieve.

If you write your own Will and die, how do the problems get fixed? Which professional will step in to sort it out? Will they know what you meant to put in place?

© Garry Cass - 2010 - 2015
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