Canadian Court Validates Handwritten and Unwitnessed Will

Canadian Court Validates Handwritten and Unwitnessed Will

In a recent ruling, the Superior Court of Ontario validated a handwritten, unwitnessed Will created by Carol Liscombe in 2004. Despite lacking a date and witnesses, the court found it met legal requirements. Annette Groskopf, executor and beneficiary, applied for validation, contested by the deceased's brother, Michael Liscombe.

The court considered the document's specific provisions, lack of alternatives, and estate-planning notes. It concluded that the document reflected the deceased's fixed intentions, unchanged by time or intent to include her brother. For more details, read the original article.


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In a recent legal ruling, the Superior Court of Ontario validated a handwritten and unwitnessed Last Will, setting an interesting precedent. Despite lacking a date and witnesses, the court considered several factors:

Key Takeaways and Insights:

  1. Sign Before 2 Witnesses: When creating your Last Will remember to sign it before 2 witnesses who also must sign.

  2. Document Content Matters: The content of the Last Will played a significant role in the court's decision. Specific bequests, the naming of an executor, and an alternate demonstrated the deceased's clear intentions.

  3. No Evidence of Changes: The absence of evidence suggesting the deceased intended to change her Last Will to include her brother was a crucial factor. It reaffirms the principle that intentions at the time of creation are vital.

  4. Unique Circumstances: While this case is unique, it underscores the need to consult with legal professionals when creating a Last Will. Legal guidance can help ensure your wishes are clearly documented and avoid potential disputes.

  5. Estate Planning: The presence of estate-planning and inventory notes alongside the Will reinforced its validity. Properly documented estate plans can help provide clarity to your executor and beneficiaries.

Actionable Insights:

  1. Seek Legal Advice: When creating a Last Will, consult with a qualified attorney to ensure it complies with local laws and accurately reflects your wishes.

  2. Maintain Clarity: Make sure your Last Will contains specific provisions and instructions, leaving no room for ambiguity.

  3. Keep Records: Document your intentions and any changes you make to your Will over time, as it can be crucial in legal proceedings.

  4. Regularly Review: Periodically review your Last Will to ensure it aligns with your current wishes and circumstances.

While this case sets an intriguing precedent, it's essential to remember that legal requirements for Wills can vary by jurisdiction. Seek professional guidance to create a Last Will that's legally sound and meets your needs.

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