We hear this a lot, particularly in British Columbia, where Notaries are licensed to write Wills.
This is unfortunate. Notaries are saying this because Will writing is a lucrative business for them, and they charge in the region of about $500 for less than an hour's work. They try to undermine people's confidence in services like ours in order to preserve this business for themselves. Refusing to notarize an Affidavit for a Will that they did not prepare is disingenuous. The process for notarizing a Will is actually notarizing an Affidavit of Execution that is attached to the Will. In doing this, the Notary is not validating the Will, or even required to read it. They are simply allowing a witness to swear under oath that they witnessed the signing. It has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the document (in the same way that a witness is not required to read the document).
Please keep in mind that notarizing your Will is an optional step. It does not make your document any more legal. To be a legal Last Will and Testament, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will.
We can give you two reassurances. We have been in business for over 16 years and have helped tens of thousands of Canadians prepare their Will, including thousands of people in BC. Over that time, many of our Wills have gone through the probate process and we have never once heard of an issue with one of our Wills. We have, on the other hand, heard from family members and loved ones who have worked with one of our Wills and gone on to recommend our service to others because the process went so smoothly.
From a legal perspective. The Will writing law for BC is determined by the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, specifically section 37
There is absolutely no mention in the law of requiring a lawyer or notary to make a Will.
Everybody has a legal right to prepare a Will, but not everybody has the financial or geographic access to a Notary or Lawyer. It would be unreasonable of the law to require a Notary or Lawyer in order to make a legal Will.
It is a pity that notaries are trying to protect their revenue stream and not offer the service that they are required to provide.
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