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Updating or Changing Your Will


How do I cancel or change my will?

During your lifetime you can change or cancel your will whenever you like. You can cancel your will by doing any of the following:

  • physically destroying your will with the intention of destroying it
  • writing and signing something that indicates that you are changing or cancelling your old will – if this writing is not entirely in your own handwriting the change must be witnessed by two individuals
  • making a new will.

Minor changes to a will are usually done by making a codicil. A codicil can be a separate document made in addition to your will. Changes may also be made directly on your will. If the changes are made entirely in your handwriting and signed by you, no witnesses are required. However, if the changes are not entirely in your own handwriting, the changes must be signed by you and two witnesses. In either case it is not sufficient to simply initial the changes. The signing formalities are the same as when the will was originally prepared.

Please see the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) website for more information.

Please also see the Preparing a Will Self-Help Kit and Will Template for information on creating a simple will.

When should I update my will? Can gifts in my will become invalid?

If you have a will, you should review it regularly to make sure it reflects your wishes. If you have a major life event, such as getting married, getting divorced, having a child, or the death of a family member, you should update your will.

Please see the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) website for more information.

How often should I update my will?

Some experts suggest a periodic review every two to five years. At the very least, you should review your will when significant events occur in your life, such as:

  • ending or entering a spousal relationship;
  • your children reaching the age of 18;
  • your child and other dependant becoming ill or disabled to the extent of needing long-term financial support, even into adulthood;
  • beneficiaries predeceasing you;
  • your children entering or leaving spousal relationships;
  • new children coming into your life, including grandchildren;
  • changing financial circumstances, such as receiving an inheritance or selling your business.

Please see the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) website for more information.

How does entering or ending a spousal relationship impact my will?

Recent changes to The Wills Act mean that if you make a will and later marry, or live in a spousal relationship for two or more years, your will remains in effect and unchanged.

Ending a spousal relationship, however, can revoke or cancel your will or parts of it. For example, if you name your spouse as your executor or leave part of your estate to your spouse, those parts of your will are revoked or cancelled after you divorce, or after 24 months of separation in the case of other spousal relationships, unless you expressly say otherwise in your will.

Please see the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) website for more information.

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