Executing Wills and Powers of Attorney by Counterpart During COVID-19
Following on the Order in Council made on April 7, 2020, the province has passed a subsequent Order on April 22, 2020 which allows for wills and powers of attorney that are signed in the presence of witnesses using audio-visual communication to be executed in counterpart. This Order will help to ensure that the process for signing wills during the pandemic is effective and efficient. A copy of the Order is here.
Practically speaking, this will allow wills and powers of attorney to be executed in one meeting via audio-visual communication technology rather than the two or three that would have been required if counterpart signatures were not permitted. It also ensures that documents are valid from the time they are is signed by the will-maker/grantor. This is important particularly in cases where a will-maker/grantor is ill and finalizing the documents in a timely fashion is crucial.
It is essential when signing in counterpart that each party is signing an identical document. Great care will need to be taken to ensure that everyone is signing the correct document, particularly if the will-maker/grantor and both witnesses are all in different locations.