I recently happened upon a Facebook ad promoting an online Will writing service. There are a few different services in Canada, and because Facebook knows that I have an interest in Will writing, I seem to be targeted for every ad from all of our competitors. This particular ad has been running for many months, and garnered nearly 200 comments.
I feel a little sorry for this service provider though, because the comments are riddled with myths, misconceptions, or could we even go as far as to call it “fake news”. The comments section has a surprising level of misunderstanding. I thought it would be interesting to dissect some of these comments, and put the record straight.
The Holographic Will
“Half of it is handwritten and half is typed, which means courts will reject it as a holograph Will”.
The holographic Will causes so much confusion, but it’s really very simple. A Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses to make it legal, but some provinces make an exception to this rule. Sometimes it is simply not possible to gather two witnesses (for example, if you are stuck under a rock), and you may need a Will in a hurry. So some provinces allow you to prepare a Will without witnesses if it is entirely written in your own handwriting. This is called a holographic Will.
Here’s the catch: not all provinces accept a non-witnessed holographic Will (notably British Columbia), so it makes sense to prepare a Will and sign it in the presence of two witnesses.
However, all provinces will accept a document that is signed in the presence of two witnesses whether it is all handwritten, all typed, or a mixture of the two.
So in answer to Jenn Hurst’s point, an online service is not helping you to prepare a holographic Will. If half of the document is typed, it is not a holographic Will, so it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. A document that is signed in the presence of two witnesses will be accepted in all Canadian provinces, regardless of if it is typed, handwritten, or a mixture of the two.