It is a common misconception that a lawyer is needed to make a will. Fortunately, making a will in Quebec is much easier than you think! A legal will can be prepared in a variety of ways, including a handwritten will.

In Quebec, this type of will is called a holographic will. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the holographic will, what makes it legal and valid, and why it may be the right choice for you. 

What Is A Holographic Will In Quebec?

A holographic will, also called a holograph will, is a will that is completely written and signed by the testator (the person creating the will).

It must be written without the use of electronic or mechanical devices. To write a holographic will, all you need is paper, a pen and yourself!

What Is the Difference Between a Holographic Will and Other Types of Wills In Quebec?

The main difference between a holographic will and other types of wills is that it must be entirely handwritten by you.It should not be written with the help of mechanical devices, such as a typewriter, computer, or cell phone. For example, filling out the blanks on a printed will form would not meet the requirements of a holographic will.  

Another difference is that no witnesses are required for a holographic will.

Is a Holographic Will Legal and Valid in Quebec?

Yes, a holographic will is legal and valid in Quebec. To be valid, it must only be written and signed by you, according to the Civil Code of Quebec. Upon your death, your bequests and liquidator must have your will verified by the Superior Court or a notary, through a process called probate.

It is recommended that you date your holographic will, but this is not essential for it to be valid.This simply allows for the recognition of the most recent version of the will, if you have written several copies in the past. 

What Should Be Included In a Holographic Will In Quebec ? 

A holographic will must contain the same basic information as any other formal will. Primarily, it should include the full name of the testator , as well as confirmation that you want it to be your last will.

You may also consider including the following wishes in a holographic will:

  • Specific gifts, also called bequests
  • Legatees 
  • Liquidators
  • Guardians of minor children or pets 

However, holographic wills tend to be simpler and shorter than most other formal wills, as they are typically used as a last-minute document. 

Although witness signatures are not required on a holographic will, you will need to sign it yourself by hand for it to be considered a holographic will. 

Do I Need Witnesses For a Holographic Will In Quebec?

No, you do not need witnesses for a holographic will. In fact, the holographic will is the only type of will in Quebec that can be valid without witnesses. 

Is a Holographic Will the Right Fit for Me?

It depends. Holographic wills are a good option for people who have no other resources or who are not able to sign in front of witnesses. However, it may not be the best option for you. 

When a Holographic Will May Be The Right Fit For You: 

Holographic wills can be a good solution if it is the only option you have. You should however do some research to make sure it is written in a way that avoids contradictions. 

They can be a good option if you have a legal background and know how to word your will without contradictions, and with all the important information. 

It may also be an appropriate option if you cannot sign in front of witnesses but still want to have a will to your name. Unlike a formal will, it can be prepared quickly in an emergency. It is simple, quick, and free of charge. 

When To Avoid a Holographic Will: 

Although they are free of charge, most people are not legally trained, so they may contradict themselves or leave out important items in their will. Holographic wills are also not the best option if you need to make updates, since you’ll need to write an entirely new one out by hand each time.

If you choose this option, be sure to keep only the most recent copy and inform your chosen liquidator of your holographic will and where you keep it. You may also wish to have your will registered with a notary or lawyer at the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the Quebec Bar Association, which will make it easier to obtain after your death. You will however have to pay the registration fee. 

One disadvantage of a holographic will is that it must go through probate after your death, which can entail legal fees (over $1,000) and additional delays for your liquidator. 

What Are the Alternatives to a Holographic Will In Quebec

Although a holographic will is an excellent low-cost solution, there are many ways to make a legal will in Quebec. Here are a few different ways to make your will:

  • Buy a DIY form to fill out and sign in front of witnesses
  • Use an online platform, such as Willful (where you can make a will in front of witnesses or a notarial will* 100% online) 
  • Consult a lawyer for a will in the presence if witnesses
  • Consult a notary for a notarial will

*Unfortunately, due to unexpected changes in Quebec's legislation, our Notarial Will plans are temporarily unavailable. Check back soon for more updates.

Depending on your unique personal situation, there are pros and cons to using all of the above options.

Fortunately, creating a will doesn't have to be complicated. By using online platforms like Willful, you can create a legal will in Quebec in less than 20 minutes, from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about online wills.