We previously commented on this blog that the laws of British Columbia had not been relaxed to allow for remote or “virtual” execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements during the COVID-19 pandemic (see our posts of April 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020).
That has now changed. The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has now issued ministerial orders with respect to the remote execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements in British Columbia.
These orders are effective May 19, 2020, until the current Provincial State of Emergency is over. At the date of writing this post, the Provincial State of Emergency is in place until May 26, 2020. It may be extended or rescinded. Check the Emergency Info BC website for up to date information in that regard.
To summarize the measures now in place for the remote execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements:
- the parties must be in each other’s “electronic presence”, as defined in the orders;
- a lawyer or notary’s involvement is required;
- complete and identical copies of the document must be used in counterpart; and
- the document must include a statement that it was signed and witnessed in accordance with the relevant ministerial order.
Legal services are an essential service and remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you want expert advice in preparing a Will? Or do you perhaps already have an estate plan, but it doesn’t reflect your current wishes or circumstances? Owen Bird Law Corporation’s Wills and estates lawyers are here to help. We provide our clients with personalized advice, working closely with individuals to draw up Wills and estate plans that help them achieve their personal and financial goals.