We previously reported on how the Government of British Columbia responded to COVID-19 by temporarily allowing the remote execution of Wills, setting out the requirements for doing so in a ministerial order that is only applicable so long as the Provincial State of Emergency is in effect (see our previous blog post of June 17, 2020).
We are pleased to advise that the Government of British Columbia introduced legislation last week to make remote execution of Wills a permanent fixture in this province.
If it passes, Bill 21 – 2020 will amend the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act, SBC 2009, c 13 to allow for remote witnessing of Wills. Notably, the proposed legislation also:
- allows for the use of electronic signature, where the ministerial order currently does not; and
- removes the requirement that one of the witnesses to the remote execution of a Will be a lawyer (which is currently required by the ministerial order).
We don’t know at this time whether similar amendments will be made to the legislation governing Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements.
If you would like assistance with your estate plan or drafting a Last Will and Testament, 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. Please do not hesitate to contact us.