COVID-19: Remote Witnessing of Estate Planning Documents

For the first time ever, lawyers and notaries in BC can now witness estate planning documents remotely via video conference.

On May 19, 2020, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of BC, signed two Ministerial Orders that facilitate the execution of estate planning documents in BC while maintaining social distancing requirements. Ministerial Orders M161 and M162 allow for witnessing of estate planning documents (wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements) using audiovisual technology while BC remains under a State of Emergency.

The execution requirements for estate planning documents are quite strict and must be strictly adhered to in order to validly execute documents. Ministerial Orders M161 and M162 give clients added flexibility by allowing estate planning documents to be witnessed using audiovisual technology provided that:

  • One witness is a lawyer or notary;
  • Copies signed by all parties are complete and identical; and
  • The document includes a statement that it was signed and witnessed in accordance with the order.

We know that these are stressful times. We now have the capacity to assist with execution of your estate planning documents both in person and by video conference. Please contact our offices for more information.