Estate Planning
5 minutes reading time

Make a Will in Ontario - The Easy Way

Written by
The Tabuchi Law Team
Published on
January 9, 2024

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. It can also include instructions for caring for your children, pets, and other personal matters.

A Will is important because it ensures that your wishes are carried out after your death and can help avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones.

If you do not have a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your province or territory. This may not be what you want, and it could result in your loved ones going through probate court.

If you are considering making a Will, you must speak to a trusted lawyer who can help you understand your options and prepare a Will that meets your needs.


Why do you need a Will?

A Will is a legal document stating your wishes to distribute your assets after death. It can also appoint guardians for your children and make other important decisions about your estate.

There are many reasons why you should have a Will, including:

  • To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes
  • To avoid probate court, which can be a lengthy and expensive process
  • To provide for your loved ones and ensure that they are taken care of after your death
  • To appoint guardians for your children if you die before they reach the age of majority
  • To make other important decisions about your estate, such as who will manage your assets and how your debts will be paid


A Will is a simple and inexpensive way to fulfill your wishes after death. If you do not have a Will, I highly encourage you to make one today.


What happens without a Will?

Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession, which may not be what you would have wanted. For example, if you are married and have children, your spouse may not receive all your assets. If you have no children, your assets may be distributed to your parents or siblings, even if you would have preferred to leave them to someone else.

A Will also allows you to appoint a guardian for your children if you die while they are still minors. Knowing that your children will be well-cared for if something happens to you can give you peace of mind.

If you own a business, a Will can also specify who will take over the business after your death. This helps avoid disputes among your heirs and ensures that the company continues to operate smoothly.

In short, there are many reasons why you should have a will in place. It is a simple and inexpensive way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death and that your loved ones are not left to deal with the uncertainty and expense of probate.


What assets can be included in a Will?

You can include any assets that you own in your Will, including:

  • Real estate
  • Personal property
  • Investments
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts
  • Debts

You can also include instructions for how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. For example, you can specify who you want to receive your assets, in what proportions, and when.

It is important to note that not all assets can be included in a Will. For example, you cannot name a beneficiary in your Will without a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). Instead, it would be best if you designated a beneficiary on the RRSP form.

If you have any questions about what assets can be included in a Will, consult an experienced wills and estates lawyer from our team at Tabuchi Law.

How to write a Will in Ontario

To write a Will in Ontario, you will need to:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be of sound mind
  • Identify your beneficiaries
  • Specify how you want your assets to be distributed
  • Sign the Will in the presence of two witnesses

You can write your own Will or use a wills and estates lawyer to help you. If you are using a lawyer, they can advise you on the best way to structure your Will and ensure  it is valid and enforceable.

Once you have written your Will, it is essential to store it in a safe place where your loved ones can find it after your death. Please make sure your beneficiaries know where your Will is located.


Witnesses for a Will in Ontario

In Ontario, two witnesses must sign a will for it to be valid. The witnesses must be: 

  • 18 years of age or older 
  • Of sound mind 
  • Not beneficiaries under the Will 
  • Not related to the testator by blood or marriage 
  • Not the spouse of a beneficiary 

The witnesses must be present at the same time and must watch the testator sign the Will. They must also sign the Will in each other's presence. If a will is not witnessed properly, it may be considered invalid. This could mean that the Will cannot be used to distribute the testator's assets after death. If you are considering making a will, it is crucial to make sure that you have the proper witnesses. You can also speak to a lawyer for more information about Ontario's requirements for a valid will.


Signing a Will in Ontario

To sign a will in Ontario, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • of sound mind
  • not under duress or undue influence

You must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses who are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • not beneficiaries under your Will
  • not related to you by blood or marriage
  • not your spouse or common-law partner

The witnesses must also sign the Will in your and each other's presence.

Once your Will is signed, it is considered a legal document.

Revoking a Will in Ontario

A Will can be revoked in Ontario by either destroying the Will, making a new will that expressly revokes the old Will, or getting married.

If you destroy your Will, it is essential to do so in a way that leaves no doubt that you intended to revoke it. For example, you could tear up the Will before witnesses or burn it.

If you make a new will, it is essential to make sure that it expressly revokes the old Will. This can be done by stating in the new Will that it revokes all previous wills.

If you get married, your Will is automatically revoked unless it was made in contemplation of marriage.

If you are considering revoking your Will, speaking to an experienced wills and estates lawyer is crucial to discuss your options.


Where to store your Will

Once you have drafted and executed your Will, storing it in a safe place is crucial. It would be best to choose a place where it will be accessible to your executor but not easily found by unauthorized people. Some possible places to store your will include:

  • A safe deposit box at your bank
  • With your lawyer
  • With a trusted family member or friend
  • In a fireproof safe at home

It is also essential to keep your Will up-to-date. If you make any changes to your Will, you should sign and date a new copy and have it witnessed. It would be best to inform your executor of any changes you have made.

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