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How does serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (Military) affect your will?

wills Nov 10, 2020

If you are looking to join the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), you may be wondering how this could impact your will. Or, if you are already serving in the military, you may be wondering how your military will differ from a will written by a wills and estates lawyer in Alberta. In this post, we outline whether serving in the Canadian Armed Forces can affect your will in any way. 

In Canada, you need to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to write a will – although, in Alberta, minors can write wills with a court application approving of that will. However, military officials and active service personnel can write a will at any time, including when you are under the age of 18 years old. As well, while Alberta wills are required to have two witnesses, while a military will only need one person to watch the member sign the will.   

When we meet with active or formerly active military members, they tell us that one of the first things they do when starting basic training is to meet with a military lawyer that watches them sign a simple one paragraph will. In fact, the Canadian Government's website states that the Canadian Armed Forces "strongly urges every member to make a will on enrolment." 

It is important to remember that a "Military Will", or in this case, "The Canadian Forces (CF) Service Will", is different from the will you would create at Estate Connection. The documents that you tend to fill out with the military are not as thorough as those you would find in a lawyer's office and, as stated on the Government's website "The CAF provides a simple Will Form, which is a fundamental will" and that a "lawyer/notary may be consulted to make a will with specific provisions." So, although they are adequate and essential, they are not perfect!  

Because of this, the military will be useful as an interim means of having a will; however, we recommend having this document reviewed and revised after you return home to ensure you have a more complex and complete choice drafted by an experienced wills and estates lawyer.  

At Estate Connection, we are here to help with all your estate planning needs. If you are in the military or thinking about joining the army but are concerned your will may not cover all your specific needs, or you have retired from the military and looking to create a new will, contact us at (780) 458-8228 or at [email protected] today!

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