Note: Landmark Law is operating 7 days per week during COVID-19 (by appointment) to accommodate flexible signing of Wills and Powers of Attorney. We prepare Primary/Secondary (aka Corporate) wills for medical professionals and business owners, and standard wills and powers of attorney (non-corporate). Feel free to watch our free basic webinar on Wills & Estates.
In response to COVID-19, the Law Society of Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General (through an emergency Order in Council made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act) have made available alternative options to execute your will during these unprecedented times.
Accordingly, Landmark Law has prepared the following four (4) options:
1. Outdoor Patio signing with Social Distancing
*Difficulty level: Easy. This is the simplest and most popular method but clients will have to attend our outdoor patio.
Traditional in-person signing may be conducted on our outdoor patio while maintaining physical distancing and other personal protective actions, such as wearing masks and use of disinfectant wipes on touched surfaces.
Clients enter the outdoor patio without touching any surfaces. Seating is spaced far apart. Documents are placed in plastic sleeve / clipboard which is disinfected before and after exchanging hands. All execution is completed in this one meeting. Please bring your own pens and wear masks.
Location: 93 Worthing Ave, Markham, ON L3S 4J9 (Northeast of Brimley Rd/Steeles Ave E)
2. Remote Signing with Law Firm Instructions/Supervision
*Difficultly level: Medium. The clients do not need to attend the law firm. However, clients must arrange their own two witnesses and one of the witnesses must later attend the law firm (which can be after COVID-19 restrictions lifted) to get their affidavit commissioned.
Remote signing may be conducted by the client under our instructions and supervision.
The Client ("Will-maker") must find
- two witnesses (neither of whom can be a beneficiary or beneficiary's spouse)
- a location where all three, ie the Will-maker + two witnesses, are present in the same room to complete the signing and witnessing according to law firm instructions. It is recommended that the law firm supervise by video.
After signing is complete, one of the witnesses must later attend the law firm to swear/affirm the Affidavit of Execution. This can be done by Outdoor Patio arrangement (see #1 above) or immediately after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The exact procedure for remote signing is outlined here.
3. Wills Execution in Counterparts with Video Conferencing
*Difficulty Level: Medium. The clients do not need to attend the law firm or arrange witnesses. However, the clients and law firm must mutually arrange 1 video conference and the client must arrange 1 delivery.
On April 22, 2020, the new Emergency Order(“Order”) confirms Wills and Powers of Attorney can be executed on separate documents in counterpart (The Order is revoked on June 30, 2020, unless extended).
Video execution of the entire signing process with two law firm witnesses - one of the witnesses must be a lawyer. Our firm can provide such two witnesses. The process will be:
Video Conference #1: The client and law firm must arrange a video conference where the client and two law firm witnesses will be able to see and hear each other signing the will.
The client will print and sign/initial on one copy of the will according to law firm directed instructions; the two law firm witnesses will print and sign/initial on another copy of the will.
Delivery #1: Client must arrange delivery of his/her copy of originally signed copy to the law firm home office (see #1 above address)
Delivery #2: The law firm will compile the client’s and law firm counter-signed original copies together with the commissioned affidavit of execution and courier the package to the client's address. Additional courier charges apply ($30+ depending on location) or the client may opt to pick it up at the law firm home office (see #1 above address).
4. Video-witnessing and Signing with Law Firm
*Difficulty Level: High. The clients do not need to attend the law firm or arrange witnesses. However, the clients and law firm must mutually arrange 2 video conferences and 2 deliveries.
Video execution of the entire signing process with lawyer and law firm staff as witnesses.
Video Conference #1: Clients must print the will. The clients and law firm must arrange a video conference where the client/will-maker signs the will in front of the 2 witnesses (lawyer and law firm staff).
Delivery #1: Client must arrange delivery of signed will to law firm home office (see #1 above address)
Video Conference #2: The clients and law firm must arrange a video conference where the two witnesses (lawyer and law firm staff) sign the will in front of the will-maker.
Delivery #2: The law firm will arrange delivery of completely signed will and commissioned affidavit of execution to the client's address. Additional courier charges apply ($30+ depending on location) or the client may opt to pick it up at the law firm home office (see #1 above address).
Under this video-witnessing method, the lawyer must swear/affirm the affidavit of execution and additional commissioner of oath charges apply ($35).