Pursuant to Section 2 of the Estates Act, the office of the local Registrar of the Superior Court of Justice is a place where you may deposit your Will for safekeeping. Rule 74.0 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides further details of the process by which a Will may be deposited and held by the court. The good news is that the Registrar holds these Wills for a 125 years or more. So short of having a biblical lifespan, one’s original Will will indeed be available.
However for reasons, we will now discuss, it is not a process that our office recommends. It makes changing a Will much more difficult and it is a relatively laborious task to retrieve the Will from the court in contrast to storing it with the lawyer that drafted that Will. The Court’s filing and storage process is incredibly archaic and no notation is made of the date of birth or any other specific identifiers for an individual who has a relatively common name. The only person that can deposit the Will with the court is by and large the testator i.e. the willmaker or someone authorized in writing by the testator.
When one applies for probate, a request is made to the central Registry, to determine whether or not there is a Will on deposit. As long as the name is relatively similar to the name of the deceased, the application for probate is rejected until one can prove that the deceased is different from the individual whose Will is on deposit anywhere in the province of Ontario.
Our office far prefers that you leave your Wills with our office or alternatively, store them in a safety deposit box and provide details of its location to your estate trustee. Our firm levies no fee for storage of Wills.