Wills in a time of COVID-19

In this crazy time lots of people are thinking about their own mortality and finally planning for the worst.

If you don’t have a Will or Powers of Attorney, any time is good time to get them done, but especially now.

But the challenges of social distancing and limiting non-essential outings make it more difficult than normal.

I used to do close to a dozen house calls a week and now I do zero.

My process usually involves two main stages – planning with clients and then formally signing the documents.

I’ve easily transitioned the planning side to virtual meetings – either by phone or video-conference (my preference). Clients sign my engagement letter and fill out a basic info form all online. I send them draft documents and we discuss any changes electronically as well.

The signing side is harder. Signing a Will in Ontario usually requires the physical face-to-face presence of the will-maker (testator) and two witnesses, with the exception of handwritten (holographic) Wills.

Doing my part to further social distancing and “stay home” I’ve made the difficult decision to suspend all house calls at this time. Where possible, I’m asking clients to delay signing. If there is a real need to sign a Will, I have a set of alternatives.

**Update April 7 – Ontario has issued an emergency order permitting the signing of Wills by video-conference for the duration of the state of emergency.**

I have developed a page of FAQs on how my practice and signing Wills has changed in light of COVID-19. CLICK HERE.

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