With the current health pandemic creating worry over the potential for a serious imminent illness, many people are looking to create or update their estate plans by executing Wills and Powers of Attorney. One major roadblock to this during the age of social distancing has been the fact that these documents require two in-person witness signatures to be considered valid under Ontario law.
In order to allow Ontarians to take control over their estate plans during this time of heightened concern without compromising their health, an emergency Order in Council was executed yesterday, allowing Wills and POAs to be witnessed remotely for the duration of the state of emergency. So long as at least one witness is licenced with the Law Society of Ontario, both Wills and POAs may be signed and witnessed using audio-visual technology rather than face-to-face. For the purposes of the Order, “audio-visual technology” has been defined as “any electronic method of communication in which participants are able to see, hear and communicate with each other in real time”.
The estate lawyers at Campbell Bader LLP are fully equipped with the technology necessary to assist clients with the drafting and execution of Wills and Powers of Attorney during these uncertain times. We have written previously about the precautions we have taken to use video conferencing technology that is both secure and easily accessed by our clients. To discuss or amend your current estate plan with one of our skilled lawyers, please contact us online or by phone at 905 828 2247.