International wills | How it works - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

International wills | How it works

Register your international will with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

What’s important to know

If a lawyer is helping you write a will, they’ll know if you need an international will. They’ll usually register it for you.

This is the form:

International Wills Registration System Form (PDF, 14.63 KB)

Mail the form to:
International Wills
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
4th Floor, Brownlee Building
10365-97 Street
Edmonton AB T5J 3Z8

Different countries, and even some provinces, have their own standards for what is a valid will.

If you own assets outside of Alberta, such as a home in another country, you should consider writing and registering an international will.

An international will is recognized in various parts of the world if:

  • it meets certain standards
  • it’s been certified as an international will
  • you register it

In Alberta, international wills are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Show Answer What’s an example?

If you live in Alberta and write a will here, it’s valid in Alberta. If your will includes instructions to give one daughter the condominium in Arizona and the other daughter the property you inherited in France, your Alberta will may not be recognized there. Those jurisdictions will follow their own rules for how the properties are divided. By writing an international will, it helps ensure your wishes are followed.

Show Answer Which countries recognize an international will?

Talk with your lawyer about this. Not all countries or provinces recognize international wills.

The list changes over time as more countries agree to recognize international wills.

Show Answer What standards does an international will have to meet?

Talk with your lawyer about this.

There are specific standards for how an international will is written. For example, in Alberta, you must have a lawyer sign it. You can’t use a notary.

You also have to:

  • attach a certificate to the end of the international will
  • register your international will
     

Show Answer Should I send a copy of my will?

No. To register an international will, send the form below to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

International Wills Registration System Form (PDF, 14.63 KB)

We do not ask for or keep a copy of your will.

Show Answer Can anyone find out if I have an international will?

No. This information is protected.

We can only share it with you or someone you appoint. If you die, that also includes the proper person who should have access to that information.

It’s a good idea to talk with your lawyer if you have questions or concerns.

Show Answer Do all wills have to be registered?

No. However, if you have an international will, you must register it.

Show Answer Where can I find more information?

In 1973, Canada signed an international agreement called the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will.

In 1978, it became part of Alberta law. Part 2, Division 3 of Alberta’s Wills and Succession Act outlines the Alberta government’s role. 

Created:
Modified: 2015-05-29
PID: 18038

Contact this service

1-877-427-4525 (toll-free)

8:15 am - 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)