Ontario allows lawyers and notaries to witness Wills remotely

Notary Pro offers Canada’s first online Will notarization service

The Ontario government will now allow legal professionals such as notary publics to witness the signing of Last Will and Testaments and Powers of Attorney through online video platforms, such as the video service provided by Notary Pro Canada.

Following an emergency order that was passed late on Tuesday night of this week in response to the coronavirus pandemic, lawyers (and notaries) will be able to witness the execution of these critical estate planning documents, including Last Wills and Testaments.

Online Video Commissioning
Notary Pro: Ontario’s First Online Video Notary Service

In normal circumstances, two witnesses are required to be physically in the presence of someone who is executing power of attorney or a last will.

Now a notary public can meet a client online, along with the witnesses, when a Last Will and Testament or a Power of Attorney is to be signed – all done over simple online video.

The Ontario Government’s emergency order requires that one of the two witnesses to be licensed by the Law Society of Ontario as either a lawyer or paralegal.

The Ministry of the Attorney General passed this emergency order to allow virtual commissioning and will be in effect for the duration of the state of emergency declared by the province on March 17.

Note that physical ‘wet’ signatures are required on any Last Will and Testament or Power of Attorney. The notary public will virtual witness and then physically sign these documents once received from the client.

Notary Pro Canada is proud to offer Canada’s first online notarization service. Book your online Last Will and Testament notarization now.

Emergency Order in Council – Full Text

 

SCHEDULE 1
SIGNATURES IN WILLS AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Wills
1. For the duration of the emergency, a requirement under the Succession Law Reform Act that a testator or witnesses be present or in each other’s presence for the making or acknowledgment of a signature on a will or for the subscribing of a will may be satisfied by means of audio-visual communication technology provided that at least one person who is providing services as a witness is a licensee within the meaning of the Law Society Act at the time of the making, acknowledgment or subscribing.

Powers of attorney
2. For the duration of the emergency, a requirement under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 that witnesses be present for the execution of a power of attorney may be satisfied by means of audio-visual communication technology provided that at least one person who is providing services as a witness is a licensee within the meaning of the Law Society Act at the time of the execution.

Definition
3. In this Order, “audio-visual communication technology” means any electronic method of communication in which participants are able to see, hear and communicate with each other in real time.

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