Resource Centre: How to sign, witness and store your Will

Witnessing A Will

  • Willskeeper

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You’ve had your will drafted and now it’s time to make it a formal legal document. To do so you will need to have two legal witnesses sign and witness your will. This article will explain what a witness is, the rules of witnessing, and the process involved.

What is a witness?

The laws in Canada give us the freedom to choose the people who will witness the signing of legal documents to give them effect. Primarily, two witnesses are required to witness the will to give it legal effect. The only legal requirements for a witness to be valid is:

  • they are the age of majority and mentally sound
  • they are not named in your Will or family members of individuals named in your Will

Your witnesses can be anyone who meets these requirements whether you know them personally or not.

The process

Your will has been drafted, all your documents have been reviewed, you understand everything contained in it, you’re ready to finalize your will. Best practices dictate the testator will start signing first, followed by each witness and then initializing each page in the initial box. This will mitigate the chance of the will being changed or altered after it has been signed.

On the last page of the will, you will sign your full legal name, in front of both witnesses. Both witnesses must be present for the testator's signing of the will. Typically, we recommend signing in blue ink, so that the original can easily be distinguished from any copies of the will that are subsequently made. After all the required pages have been signed and initialed, that’s it. You should now destroy any past versions of the will and store your new version in a safe place.

It's important to note that you do not need a lawyer to create a valid and legal will as long as it has been signed by the testator and witnessed correctly. Get started with your Will today on WillsKeeper.