We get a lot of questions about whether or not you have to visit a lawyer or notary to make your will legally-binding in Canada.
The short answer is, no! You do not need to have your last will and testament notarized for it to be legal. It is a common misconception that you need a lawyer or a notary to make a legally-valid will in Canada. However, this is not true. As long as you meet the requirements, your documents will be legally-binding.
That being said, there are a couple instances where you may need to include a notary.
What Makes A My Will Legal?
First things first — while you don’t need a lawyer to make your will, there are some criteria you will need to meet when making your will. There are minor nuances between provinces but here are the general rules for your will to be legal in Canada:
- The will must be stored as a physical document (It must be printed and cannot be stored online)
- You must be of sound mind and over the age of majority in your province (If you’re under the required age, there are specific circumstances that allow you to make a legal will, like if you’re married, have children or are a member of the armed forces.)
- If the will is printed and typed (not written by hand), you must sign your will in the presence of two valid witnesses and they must sign to confirm they have witnessed your signature.
- The signatures must be in wet ink and at the very end of the will. (You cannot sign your will digitally at this time).
Affidavit Of Execution For A Will
An affidavit of execution is a document filled out by one (1) of your witnesses, which helps to confirm the validity of your will. An affidavit of execution does need to be notarized and is required if your estate has to go through probate.
An affidavit of execution is not required for your will to be legal. It can be completed when you execute your will, at a later date, or your executor can take care of it after you pass away. Many individuals choose to wait to complete this process if they expect to make updates to their will
You can find links to government affidavit forms by province here. If you make your will with Willful, we outline exactly how to do this on the instructions page included with your documents.
Where Can I Find A Notary For My Affidavit of Execution ?
If you are making a will in Ontario, we’ve partnered with Notary Pro to help you easily get an affidavit of execution and POA documents notarized. You can view more details about our partnership with Notary Pro here.
If you’re in any other province, there is no national firm or chain of notaries - instead, you can Google “notary public + your city,” or you can reach out to our team at email@example.com and we’d be happy to share a list of notaries that are familiar with our documents.
How Much Does It Cost To Notarize A Will In Canada?
The cost of notarizing your estate planning documents can range from $15 up to about $50 per document. The final cost can depend on which document is being notarized, and whether you’re doing it virtually or in-person
Is It Legal To Notarize Documents Virtually In Canada?
Yes, under COVID-19 emergency orders, notaries can execute documents virtually.