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THE DECLINE OF THE WRITTEN WORD

I was surprised to learn-only just recently-that students are no longer learning to "write" in school. With computers and laptops in school, printing is about as far as the pen goes. Having completed my first post secondary degree on a typewriter-and the second on a computer in a bank of machines located in a dusty basement of the university-it made me pause to think about a world in without writing utensils. 

Is this necessarily a bad thing? In the case of wills, maybe not.

Codicils were pages attached to a will that set out revised or additional instructions. In order to safeguard the intentions of the testator, the legal system created a number of requirements to be included in these pages to ensure that they would be accepted as the true word and wishes to be obeyed following her or his passing. If an attached page or handwritten amendment to the will failed to comply with these requirements, the additions would not be enforced. Additional notes attached to the will itself are invalid if they are not signed and dated in advance of the will itself.

Of course, some situations require more immediate action than a trip to your lawyer's office. This is why I often include a paragraph in my wills to state that the testator hopes that any handwritten note created after the will will be obeyed, even if not legally binding.

However, the best way to change your testamentary wishes is to ask your lawyer to make the necessary changes to your current will. Today, incorporating changes into a will is effortless with the advent of computers and word processing software. This will also give you and your lawyer to opportunity to make sure your will is drafted in accordance with any recent changes in the law or in your familial and social situations.

Sometimes the pen is not so mighty!

Please feel free to contact us with your questions related to will drafting and estate planning. We service clients from Kingston to Toronto and everywhere in between. And Ottawa too! :)

Thank you for reading!

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