Virtual Will Signing in Ontario - Reduced Options for Remote Signing

For those Ontario lawyers using "remote" signings, be warned that one option is now off the table.

Under the Emergency Order, there were two options available: execution in counterpart ("Counterpart Method") and execution of the same document at different times ("Circulation Method").

The Circulation Method meant that the will maker signed the Will with the witnesses watching by video. That originally signed document was then sent to the witnesses who then signed that same document while the will maker watched by video. This option is no longer available after May 20, 2021

From May 20, 2021, a clearly acceptable option for remote signing is the Counterpart Method. The will maker and the witnesses sign their own identical copy of the Will while all are on video at the same time. The separate copies are then brought together to form the Will.

Another modified Circulation Option may still be available. Check out my blog on acknowledgment of signatures.

Here is what the Attorney-General stated:

"As a result, the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021 also contains slight legislative changes to the virtual witnessing process to require that the signatures of witnesses be made when the virtual witnessing occurs and not at a later date. These amendments clarify concerns about the validity of wills and powers of attorney that arose out of non-contemporaneous signing. These changes will operate on ago-forward basis, when they come into force on May 20, 2021.  On that same date, O. Reg. 129/20, which initially enabled the virtual witnessing process on a temporary basis, will expire."  

For eState Academy's suggestions, checklists and affidavits for the Counterpart Method, check out our blog at https://www.e-stateplanner.com/post/counterpart-execution-of-wills-and-powers-of-attorney.

Jordy

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