In Ontario, there are three ways to do your will, all of which have pros and cons.
- Holograph wills. I have written about these before; holograph wills are done entirely in your own handwriting. They have been done on bags, on hubcaps, and, more commonly, on pieces of paper. Pros are that they are free and simple; cons are that they can easily be misplaced, you miss out on expert advice, and it is easier for someone who was disinherited to challenge your capacity to make a will.
- Will kits. This is my least favourite option. Often, they are not based on local law, and they are very easy to misunderstand and therefore fill in wrong; it is also very easy to miss a witness or have someone witness who can’t (such as a beneficiary). A pro again is the cost, but the cons (improper execution, missing information, and contradictory instructions) generally outweigh the cost.
- Lawyer-drafted will. I’m obviously biased, but I do believe this is generally the best option. While the cost will always be higher, with that cost comes expert advice on inheritance, as well as access to advice on taxes. Most lawyers who draft wills charge flat fees for wills, rather than an hourly rate, so it is often less than you think.
Regardless of which route you take, the important thing is to make one.