Is printing your name the equivalent of signing a Will for the purpose of creating a valid Will? This blog article must be looked at taking into account the substantial compliance rules that will be in effect in Ontario as of January 1, 2022. Substantial compliance means as long as the court believes that a document is an accurate reflection of the willmakers intention then it may very well be deemed to be valid by the court. In simple language, minor errors can be fixed by the court. That has not been the law up until now.
In the 2021 decision in BMO Trust v. Cosgrove, a highly experienced Wills and Estates judge, Madame Justice Dietrich held that printing one’s name is not a signature. Section 4 of the Succession Law Reform Act specifically requires a signature and where it must be placed. It also requires the two witnesses to subscribe to their names. It is interesting that the Act used a different verb, to “subscribe” rather than “sign” for the witnesses as opposed to the willmaker. Subscribe has many different definitions and can be referred to as a simple synonym for signing. Why endure the uncertainty and the legal fees when one simply has to follow the basic rules set out in the Succession Law Reform Act. Again, your lawyer will know this. Trying to do a Will yourself is clearly an exercise in being penny-wise and pound-foolish.