I attended a seminar last week at the Toronto Reference Library put on by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) . One of the presenters, a veteran wills and estates lawyer, made the usual recommendation that people use lawyers to prepare their wills rather than DIY.
While there is definitely wisdom in this advice, as certain elements of will drafting can be tricky, for some people, the need to involve a lawyer may act as a deterrent to actually preparing their will. I believe that it is wise to HAVE a will, and if the only way that someone is going to actually prepare their will is by using a will kit or preparing a holographic will, this may be better than having no will at all.
It is important for anyone who is thinking about writing their own will to educate themselves about the risks. As a good start, I recommend reading the article about Holographic wills published by the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) in their 2005 newsletter that outlines some of the issues that can arise with handwritten wills.
IMAGE: Cecil Harris’ tractor fender will, Saskatchewan, CANADA 1948: “In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris.”