Tag: Counterpart execution; virtual
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.
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The Ontario government has recently announced which orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) have been extended, and which will end. Under ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time.
The Limitation Periods order will end and suspended time periods will resume running on September 14, 2020.
O. Reg. 129/20, which allows for the temporary virtual and counterpart execution of Wills and Powers of Attorney, has been extended until September 22, 2020. For a full list of orders under the ROA which have been extended, please see here.
For more information and resources on witnessing and executing Wills and Powers of Attorney virtually and in counterpart, please see our COVID-19 Wills & Estate Planning resource page, here, or the eState Planner blog, here.
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