Virtual Signing of Wills and Powers of Attorney in Ontario Extended to January 20, 2021

December 22, 2020 Sanaya Mistry Elder Law, Estate & Trust, Power of Attorney, Wills Tags: , , 2 Comments

In July, my colleague Paul Trudelle discussed the Virtual Signing of Wills, noting that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government introduced an Order in Council specifically dealing with the execution of Wills and Powers of Attorney.

On December 10, 2020, pursuant to Ontario Regulation  458/20: Extensions of Orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, virtual signing of Wills and Powers of Attorney have been extended until January 20, 2021 in Ontario.

Ontario Regulation 129/20: Signatures in Wills and Powers of Attorney among other things, provides the following:

1. The requirement for a testator or witness to be present in each other’s presence for the making of a Will (or Power of Attorney) may be satisfied by means of audio-visual communication technology, with certain restrictions.

2. “Audio-visual communication technology” means any electronic method of communication in which participants are able to see, hear and communicate with one another in real time.

 

3. At least one person who is providing services as a witness must be a licensee within the meaning of the Law Society Act at the time of the execution of the Will (or Power of Attorney).

4. The signatures or subscriptions may be made by signing or subscribing complete, identical copies of the Will (or Power of Attorney) in counterpart, which together shall constitute the Will (or Power of Attorney).

5. For this purpose, copies of a Will (or Power of Attorney) will be considered identical even if there are minor, non-substantive differences in format or layout between the copies.

Thank you for reading.

Sanaya Mistry

 

2 Comments

  1. Лариса 9 months Reply

    unless the Lieutenant Governor in Council by order, extends the effective date of the order for periods of no more than 30 days prior to its expiry. The power to extend orders ceases to apply on the first anniversary of the day the orders are continued under the Having had several months in which virtual signing and witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney has been permitted, the experience of doing so has had mixed results. The downside is the additional cost involved of setting up and running the virtual meeting, the extra steps required to distribute and collect the counterpart documents, and the cumbersome result of a document consisting of several counterparts. With Ontario well into phase 3 of the COVID-19 Action Plan, our experience is that more clients are opting to sign their documents in person using social distancing and appropriate precautions. There are however still many instances in which virtual signing will be the safest course of conduct.

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