A recent Alberta Court decision dealt with this very issue.  The facts were pretty straightforward.  A woman committed suicide and a left a note which said, among other matters, that her mother should “take my money and do things for yourself”.  Six months earlier, she had made a Will in which she divided all of her Estate equally between her husband and her mother.  The mother applied to the Court for its advice as to the effect of the suicide note.             By way of explanation, a document which is wholly in the handwriting of someone who dies and that is signed can constitute what is known in law as a “Holograph Will”.  No witnesses or other formalities are required.             The Court considered the mental competence of the woman at the time she committed suicide and concluded on the basis of the evidence presented to the Court that she was competent to make a Will.  The Court also determined that the suicide note was wholly in the woman’s handwriting and was signed by her.  Ultimately, however, the Court found that the suicide note was not a Will in light of some of the other contents in the suicide note, including loving references to her husband.  The Court concluded that the note was merely intended to tell her mother what to do with the money left to her in her Will.              While the suicide note did not get accepted by the Court as a valid Holograph Will in this case, it is obvious from the decision of the Court that in the right circumstances such a note could be a valid Will. contributed by J. Paul Mills, Q.C.

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