Importance of Retaining an Original Will

A recent Ontario case has highlighted the importance of retaining your original Will. The court ruled that the presumption that the deceased meant to revoke her Will since the original could not be found was not valid. The Court further ruled that the sole beneficiary to the estate, further to a review of the copy of the Will, was entitled to receive the residue of the deceased estate.

The deceased’s estate argued that since the original Will could not be located, the testator had intentionally destroyed her Will and died without a Will (intestate), which in turn would mean that the residue of her estate would go to her only blood relatives, her niece and nephew.

The Succession Law Reform Act provides that for a Will to be revoked, it must be destroyed with the intention of revoking it. If one can establish that the Will was not destroyed or that there was no intention of revoking it, then the Will is deemed to not be revoked.

Ensuring that the original Will is retained by the Testator or his/her lawyer guarantees that the true intentions of the Testator are followed upon their death. This case serves as a reminder to file your original Will in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe, with the Superior Court of Justice located in your City or with your lawyer.