Remote execution of wills during COVID-19

中文

Based on the newest updated response to the execution of Wills during COVID-19 from Law Society of Ontario on March 23, 2020, it is recommended to consider Ian Hull’s perspective as set out in his blog post “Execution of Wills during COVID-19”.[1] Accordingly, there is now a guideline for estate lawyers to get clients’ Wills executed during this period of social distancing.

Generally, it is preferred to execute the will at the lawyer’s office so that the lawyer can ensure that the will has been correctly executed according to the strict rules on will execution in Ontario.

However, given that it is not feasible in today’s social distancing situation, it is recommended that lawyers could advise clients on the strict requirements on will execution for them to perform on their own remotely.

Here is a guide to action for Will execution for your reference:

1.    Print the Wills and Powers of Attorney, single sided.

The stamp page should be printed on the back of the signature page (i.e. double-sided). OR, if a witness will sworn/affirm at Landmark Law, no need to print stamp as our office will stamp and sign same.

2.    Arrange for two witnesses.

To be qualified as a witness, a person must be 18 years old or above.

Neither witness should be a beneficiary named in the will or the spouse of a beneficiary.

3.    Arrange for all three people - the Will-maker and two witnesses - to be present in the same room at the same time while each of them signs.

Note that the Will-maker and the two witnesses should be in the same room for the entire signing process, and must be able to see one another execute the will.

4.     Set up a video call with our firm. Make sure the law firm can see the whole process of will execution and all 3 parties (Will-maker and 2 witnesses). Our firm will explain and give instructions during the video conference when necessary.

All three people – the Will-maker and two witnesses should hold their IDs in front of the camera to let the our office verify their identities.

THE SIGNING PROCESS

The Will-maker should:

§ On the last page of the Will: insert the signing date in the space indicated

§  initial anywhere near the handwritten date.

§  On ALL the pages of the Will: initial the bottom right corner.

§  On the last page of the Will: sign on the line indicated for the Will-maker using normal signature.

The two witnesses should each:

§  On the last page of the Will: initial anywhere near the Will-maker’s handwritten date.

§  On ALL the pages of the Will: initial the bottom right corner.

§  On the last page of the Will: sign where indicated for the witnesses and print your name and address.

5.    Execute only 1 original Will and Keep the original Will in a safe place.

6.    Send our firm a copy of the signed Will.

7.    Have one of the witnesses arrange an appointment with our office to bring the signed Will and declare or swear the Affidavit of Execution as soon as possible thereafter.

Once Covid-19 situation is over and we are able to interact in person, we will require that our clients come in to our office.

We hope this information is helpful to you.

If you have any questions, please contact our firm.

Disclaimer: The Chinese version is a translation of the original in English for information purposes only. In case of a discrepancy, the English original will prevail.

免責聲明:中文版是英文原版的翻譯,僅供參考。如有差異,以英文原件為準。


[1]https://hullandhull.com/2020/03/execution-of-wills-during-covid-19/.

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Winnie J Luk, BA, JD, MBA, founder of Landmark Law, is a seasoned Ontario lawyer practicing in Wills and Estates, Real Estate, and Business Law and frequent speaker of free legal education seminar.
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LL.B, LL.M, M.M, is an articling Student of Landmark Law.
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