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April 14, 2020

Are DIY Will Kits Legal and Valid in Alberta?

In our quest for shortcuts and DIY solutions, it's important to recognize when it's best to seek professional help. While handling things on our own can feel like a win, shortcuts shouldn't be taken when it comes to something as important as creating a will. This raises the question: are will kits legal in Alberta?

Sangin (Sam) Safi

April 14, 2020

We all enjoy finding shortcuts and DIY tricks to make life a little easier.

Handling things on your own may feel like a win when it comes to dashing through the self-checkout line at the grocery store. However, the shortcut mentality might not work for something as important as your will.

Let’s start by answering the big question. Are will kits actually legal in Alberta?

Yes, you can legally use a “do it yourself” will kit to create a will in Alberta.  Please note that we are not talking about holographic wills (which will be discussed in our blog soon), however, we are talking about those fill-in-the-blanks will kits you see at your local grocery store for $39.99!

We want to make it clear that you aren’t held to any legal requirement that says you must have your will prepared by a lawyer. However, the real question might be if it’s wise to take a relaxed approach to what’s probably the most important legal document you’ll ever touch.

There are many legal nuances in play if you have assets outside of Canada, have a common-law spouse or own recreational or business property. Matters can also grow complex as you decide on executors or trustees for minor children.

If you have any questions about will kits in Alberta, reach out to our law firm by calling (780) 760-7234.

Common Issues With DIY Will Kits

Legal will kits are attractive to people looking for cheap wills that can be done quickly. It’s true that you’ll probably save money if you purchase a kit.

The problem is that people quickly find that they are entering uncharted territory once they begin building their wills.

It’s going to become a question of just how much your time is worth. Unfortunately, you may spend hours trying to work out a question that your lawyer could answer clearly in a short phone call.

The somewhat generic, one-size-fits-all nature of a will kit can be problematic.

Unfortunately, a will can be declared invalid if it contains ambiguous terms, unclear wording or inconsistent provisions. Many people execute wills that contain red flags because they don’t have a lawyer to point out their mistakes.

The danger is that you’ll have a false peace of mind about what you’re leaving behind for your loved ones.

It’s not uncommon for a person’s assets (money, real estate, and more) to go to an unintended recipient due to vague wording.

Do-it-yourself wills are notoriously easy to challenge in court.

Most people don’t realize that an Edmonton wills and estates lawyer will assess your mental capacity to execute a will when you sit down to get your wishes on record.

This serves as a protective measure in the event that a family member or other party tries to challenge your will on the grounds that you were not mentally competent at the time of the will’s creation.

Unfortunately, you don’t have this safeguard in place if you are using a DIY will kit. If getting a will done the right way is important, don’t hesitate to use our Contact Us page or call (780) 760-7234.

The bottom line is that the “generic” nature of a blank will form that’s designed to be general enough for everyone often leaves lots of room for interpretation. That means that there’s a good chance that your wishes may be interpreted in a way you didn’t intend if your will is brought to court.

Use our Contact Us page or call (780) 760-7234 to book a consultation if you need to get a will done.

How a Wills & Estates Lawyer Can Protect Your Interests

Many Alberta will kit products contain lengthy disclaimers stating that what you’re being given should not constitute as legal advice.

That’s the company’s way of washing its hands of errors that create complications or losses. By contrast, law offices actually have liability insurance that protects you against errors.

Getting a will signed and witnessed properly with help from a lawyer brings peace of mind that can’t be achieved with an Alberta will kit.

Our law office is here to help you create a will without any shortcuts and at very reasonable prices. Reach out to us today to get started.

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