Ontario Allows Virtual Witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney During COVID-19 Pandemic

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Coronavirus, COVID-19, Trust Litigation, Trusts and Trust Law, Wills and Estates0 Comments

Since April 7, 2020, the Ontario government has permitted the virtual witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney pursuant to an Emergency Order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In Ontario, a valid Will or Power of Attorney must be signed in the presence of two witnesses under the Succession Law Reform Act and the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, respectively.  (Note – holograph wills that are wholly handwritten by the testator and signed by the testator are exempt from the statutory witness requirement).  Wills and Estates lawyers were experiencing difficulties complying with the statutory witness requirements due to physical distancing rules and the increased risk from COVID-19 to the elderly and persons with certain medical conditions.  Accordingly, the Emergency Order was welcome relief to Wills and Estates lawyers and their clients. Under the Emergency Order, a Will or Power of Attorney can be signed in the presence … Read More