Ontario residents are now able to sign and finalize their Wills and Powers of Attorneys through audio-visual communication technology and in counterpart. This news comes as a result of a temporary emergency Order in Council by the Lieutenant Governor with the Executive Council, a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that was appended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Order allows for the execution of Ontario Wills and POAs to occur remotely, which was previously not an option. Prior to the Order, the testator and two witnesses had to be present together in the same room during the signing and witnessing of the Wills and POAs. Due to physical distancing measures currently in place in the Province of Ontario, these in-person meetings were difficult and potentially posed a risk to clients.
Now, signing meeting can occur via a recorded video and audio call. However, in order for the electronic meeting to be valid, at least one witness must be a licensee within the meaning of the Law Society Act.
Clients and witnesses must have a copy of their ID present at the meeting, and each person must hold their ID up to the video recording device during the call. It is also important that the testator confirms they are alone in the room, and do not have a beneficiary or executor present, or any other person who may exert influence in their decision making. When signing your Wills and POAs, clients must hold up each page of the Will and POA to the camera both before and after initialing or signing each page.
The Order is temporary and will likely run during the course of the State of Emergency in Ontario. Please contact us anytime for more information on your estate plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have a concern about a Will or would like to discuss putting one in place, feel free to contact one of the professionals at Conduct Law.
Conduct Law is a business based law firm with locations in Florida, including Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach and Ontario, including Ottawa, Barrhaven, Kanata and Winchester.
Our professionals are experienced business lawyers who can help with corporate, wills, estates, and real estate matters depending on your legal corporate requirements.
Feel free to call or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.833.890.8878 for all of your business, commercial, real estate and wills and estate planning needs.