Legally Valid Wills in Quebec
For many, the most common kind of will is the will signed before a notary. However, in Quebec, our Civil Code provides for 3 types of wills that are all legally valid:
A) Holograph Will
B) Will before witnesses (also known as “English form” or “Lawyer’s will”)
C) Notarial Will
A) A holograph will is a will that must be handwritten and signed by the testator himself, without using of any technical form, or computer or typewriter.
Indeed, the essential nature of the holographic will is that it comes directly from the testator.
B) The will before witnesses is prepared by the testator or by a third party. The testator signs his or her will in front of two witnesses who are both adults and the witnesses than proceed as well to sign the will in front of the testator.
C) It is recommended to have a notarial will, as all documents made in front of a notary are considered authentic and this prevents the heirs from having to have the will validated by the courts. In doing so, it should avoid any ambiguity and reduce delays in the settlement of the estate.
In no case can two people make a joint will. Indeed, a will made by two or more people together is invalid, as provided in Article 704, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code of Québec.
It is always advisable to make a will. Otherwise the division of the estate will proceed according to the provisions of the Civil Code of Québec that apply to intestate successions. Therefore, the desires of the deceased may not prevail.
Gianina Fuschini, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier avocats inc.