Wills and Power of Attorney During COVID-19

 In Blog, Godin, M. Suzanne, Wills, Estates, Trusts

Good news: Video Signing has been temporarily allowed.

Can I authorize my will or grant power of attorney without an in-person signature?

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Ontario government has now passed a temporary order allowing for the virtual witnessing of wills and power of attorney.

The pandemic has produced an increased desire by numerous Ontarians to have their estate planning in order at a time when having “wet ink”, in person, witnessed signatures from clients has been made difficult in order to abide by the social distancing requirements.

Ontario’s Attorney General made an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that allows the witness requirements under the Succession Law Reform Act to be satisfied by audio and video technology.

The Order now allows remote witnesses to see the testator sign their will or power of attorney through a video conferencing platform and witness their signatures on the document once they are received from the testator by each of the witnesses.

New orders for signing of documents during COVID-19

The law now allows for a will or power of attorney to be signed by three people; the testator and two witnesses, who do not need to be in the same room together. The only caveat to this short-term solution is that one of the witnesses has to be a Law Society of Ontario licensee.

This new development in the wills and estate world is a welcome solution to the increased demands that law firms have seen in recent weeks for such documents to be signed and finalized.

There is pressure being made to the Ontario Attorney General’s office to allow for these new rules to remain in place post-pandemic after everything returns to normal.

For more information about your will or power of attorney, contact the experts at Brown Beattie O’Donovan. We’ll help you ensure that your documents are up-to-date and approved during these uncertain times.

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