How do I make a will?

A will is a legal document and it must be written clearly. You cannot explain what you meant after you die.

Your will should include:

  • How you want to distribute your estate
  • Who you want to manage your estate (your trustee)
  • Who you want to be the guardian of your dependents under the age of 18, if you have any

Choosing your trustee is an important decision. You should choose someone you trust. They should also have the ability and desire to be your trustee.

Your trustee can hire a professional to handle the official documents, if necessary, and your estate will pay the fees.

Living Will or Power of Attorney

A living will or power of attorney is also a legal document that can accompany a will. In this document, you would designate a trusted person to act on your behalf while you are still alive. If you become ill or suffer a form of accident that leaves you mentally incapacitated, it is important to have a trusted person who will make decisions for you in good faith regarding your medical attention and regarding your assets.  

Why should I get professional advice?

Your will may not be valid, if you do not write it correctly. If your will is invalid, then it is like you have no will. There are consequences, if you do not have a will.

A professional can help you consider many issues and possibilities that you may not know about.

Many lawyers charge a flat fee to help you make your will. This means it costs the same amount no matter how long it takes to make it. Contact different lawyers to find out what they offer and how much it costs. For more information, read How do I find a lawyer?

You do not have to pay a lawyer to make your will, you can do it yourself. You can find will kits in book stores and on the internet. These kits have will templates that you can use as a basis for your will.

For More Information

  • Preparing a Will - This checklist offers issues to keep in mind when preparing or updating your will. From the Canadian Bar Association.
  • Wills, Estates and Trusts - Answers to frequently-asked-questions about these topics from the Government of Ontario.
  • What is a Power of Attorney and why do I need one? - Information about Power of Attorney from the Government of Ontario. Power of Attorney gives someone else the right to act on your behalf, if you are unable to do so.
  • Planning Your Estate - Tips and information about wills, taxes, insurance policies and estate planning. From the Ontario Securities Commission.
  • Powers of Attorney - This service is offered by Pro Bono Law Ontario Lawyers hotline that can assist with creating Powers of Attorney.
Last updated: January 16, 2024 4001394