Why is it important to have a well drafted Last Will and Testament?

Why is it important to have a well drafted Last Will and Testament?

While there may be Canadian cases where courts have upheld the validity of a handwritten “holograph will”, where an individual has set forth the disposition of their estate, or wills that are completed by individuals themselves at home, the reality is that modern day probate of an estate requires careful precession in the drafting and execution of your Last Will and Testament.

When confirming the validity of a Last Will and Testament and the probate of an Estate, a Last Will and Testament must pass stringent review by Court of Queen’s Bench (Surrogate Court) clerks, and then by a Justice dedicated to the review of each application for a Grant of Probate.  This is when a Justice confirms that a Personal Representative can proceed with the administration of an estate; and this process can be delayed significantly if errors and points of concern are identified because of inadequate drafting and execution of a Last Will and Testament.

Common errors that occur when drafted by individuals unfamiliar with probating an estate can include:

  • misspellings of names;
  • incorrect birthdates;
  • incorrect identification of individuals and their relationship to the deceased;
  • conflicting paragraphs;
  • unclear or unintended distribution of an estate amongst beneficiaries;
  • specific bequests that become outdated or that are in excess of the estate net worth; and
  • creation of trusts when one was not intended by the deceased

In order to avoid these common mistakes, clients who are looking to have their Last Will and Testament completed for the first time or updated should ask whether the legal professional they are hiring has completed an Application for a Grant Probate of an Estate.  Paralegal services that do not have an Estate lawyer centrally involved in the drafting process may very well mean an unfamiliarity with the intricacies of successfully completing an Application for Probate. 

Further, what responsibility or commitment is involved in ensuring the successful completion of a Grant of Probate of an Estate if individuals choose what at first seemed to be an appealing low-cost choice without an Estates lawyer being involved?   The fact is that there likely may not be the level of assistance in problem solving issues that arise and helping clients through the estate probate process as this is outside of the limited scope that can be delivered.  

Wills and Estate lawyers will readily advise clients that fixing the issues caused by poor drafting and a lack of precision in estate planning results in far more time required to complete the estate probate process, stress for clients and in turn likely far higher legal costs.    Clients are best served with hiring a well trained lawyer who regularly practices in the drafting of Last Will and Testaments, as well as the successful probate of an estate which is confirmed by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Surrogate court).

At Family Central Law Office LLP, we can assist you in the drafting of your Last Will and Testament, or obtaining the Grant of Probate for your loved one’s estate, and we can help to effectively manage the estate planning process. To learn more about these legal services we provide, please contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers by calling our office at 587-392-7970 or emailing info@familycentrallaw.com, or by clicking on our consultation page.


Calgary Family Central Law Firm

Trusted Counsel for Calgary Family Law Matters

Our firm believes in access to legal services for everyone, and serves the Calgary area, as well as regularly traveling for court appearances in Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.

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