1. How is making a Will different now during the pandemic?
All planning meetings are conducted via video-conference.
I will ask you to sign my engagement letter digitally and complete an online info form with key biographical information.
To sign your documents, either:
1. We follow the outdoor signing procedure at my place in the Beaches as outlined in #2 below.
2. We use video signing by counterpart as outlined in #4 below.
2. Are you still scheduling in-person signing meetings?
Yes, in a controlled environment as follows that seems to be working well for everyone:
-- Sign at my place with my wife and I as the witnesses
-- I have a table set up at an outdoor semi-heated, covered porch. We sit at opposite ends of the table, at least 6ft apart. Table/chairs will be sanitized before and after. My wife will witness from inside for your added protection.
-- Everyone hand sanitizes before starting
-- We sign, I scan the signature pages and give you the originals.
-- Everyone hand sanitizes when finished
-- Masks required
-- If anyone is sick or under isolation or quarantine we cancel
-- Payment by e-transfer or cheque.
3. Can we just use DocuSign?
No, e-signatures are NOT valid options in Ontario. A “wet ink” original is required.
4. Can we sign virtually by video conference?
Yes. The government now permits video signing.
Video signing is done by "counterparts", which means you and the witnesses (my wife and I) sign different copies of the same document at the same time and watch each other do it by video.
I will courier you the paper documents in advance (if you are far from me a courier fee may apply).
I will then have a courier pick up (or you can mail in the pre-paid envelope I will provide) your signed copies so that I can swear an affidavit of the witness, scan it all, package it and return it to you again by courier.
Video signing is currently a temporary measure during the pandemic, however the government has proposed a law making it permanent.
5. Can I sign and then send the documents to you to witness?
No, we must all be present and sign at the same time, either in person or by video.
6. Can I get my own witnesses and sign the documents in front of them?
Legally yes, but I do not support this method of signing as I cannot ensure it will be done correctly.
7. What do I do if I need a Will and can't leave home?
Easy - we can meet and sign it all virtually, without ever leaving home!
You can also make a Holographic Will. There is an exception to the witness requirement for wills completely done in the testator’s own handwriting and signed by them at the end (i.e. nothing typed).
Or you can find another lawyer who is making house calls.
I can Help
This is not an easy time, but my goal is still to make the process of getting your Will in place as easy as possible.
The time to plan is now.
I can help.