Author: Sabrina Rosa


November is Make a Will Month in Ontario. This is a chance for the Ontario Bar Association members to educate the public on the importance of having a will and having it done by a lawyer. Creating a will is easier than it seems. Through November, the OBA will lead various free information sessions across Ontario. Mistakes in wills can lead to an expensive litigation. Documents should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the will is up to date. Around 57% of adults do not have a verified will in place. This month is a reminder that resources you will need to help make your will are available online.

Let’s look at some questions people ask:


What happens if you die without a Will?


People assume that if you die without a will, your estate will be given to the government, which is not true. The government will use provincial laws to decide how to allocate your estate to relatives and will assign an executor. If you have children that are minors, a guardian will be chosen for them. The only issues with the government making these decisions for you is that you may have not wanted these decisions made the way they were. It is important to make a will before you pass so that the stress won’t be added on your loved ones and the government does not need to make these decisions for you.


Are Online Wills Legal?


In Canada, you do not need a lawyer to make your will and doing it online is legal. Wills are legal when you sign it in front of two witness that are not part of your will. The law does not accept digital copies of a will, so make sure you have it in a safe spot. A lawyer is suggested if you have a more difficult estate.


When should you make a Will?


Adults should make a will as soon as you can. These are usually the reasons people get wills; recently married, common law marriage, went through a divorce, have assets, have children or dependants, own business, or investments, etc.


If you create a will now, can you make changes later?


Any time you go through a life change, you will need to update your will. If you do not update the will, the assets can eventually go to someone you are not associated with anymore. We suggest checking your will yearly to make sure you have all your assets given to people you want. You can make changes to your Will whenever you please, with no additional costs. You do need to have the new will signed by a witness and delete the old copy.


What is the Canada Will Registry and How does it work?


Once you create your will and have it signed by a witness, you must register the will. This is a databank of registered wills, where your families can find your will once you’re gone. Once the search is done, if there is a match found, the system will notify your loved ones.


Why register your Will?


If a family can’t find a registered will, the law believes the will was withdrawn. This means the government will have to distribute your assets, rather than what you would have wanted. There are times where it is possible to make an application to the court declaring the will misplaced or lost. It is just easier for everyone if you make sure your Will is registered.




Ontario has many virtual and in person sessions for Make a Will Month. Lawyers who practice Trusts and Estate Law will speak on the elements of will, what happens if you do not have one, power of attorneys, and aspects to keep in mind when preparing estate plans. If you are interested in going to one of these seminars click here.


Reach out to our team for more information on Wills and we can lead you in the right direction. You should get a will in place as soon as possible so it is easier to separate your goods the way you would want.