The Law Society wishes to draw all practitioner’s attention to the particular process governing the remote execution of wills pursuant to new amended regulations released on April 16, 2020, as compared to the recent changes relating to the remote execution of other documents.
Wills are unique as compared to other documents capable of being executed remotely, in that all signatures must be “wet ink” signatures. As such, there is a different process for the remote execution of wills that hinges upon the pre-existing ability in The Wills Act, 1996 for testators and witnesses to “acknowledge” their signatures previously applied to a Will. The amendments allow for that acknowledgement of signatures previously applied to the original Will to occur via electronic means. As such, while the original Will document must travel between the testator, the lawyer, and potentially the second witness, these people may maintain physical/social distancing while witnessing acknowledged signatures via electronic means.
WILLS CANNOT BE REMOTELY EXECUTED IN THE SAME MANNER AS ISC DOCUMENTS OR OTHER DOCUMENTS UNDER THE ELECTRONIC INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS ACT. AFFIXING A WITNESS SIGNATURE TO A PHOTOGRAPH OF A SIGNATURE PAGE WILL NOT CREATE A VALID WILL PURSUANT TO THE NEW PROCESS.
Please refer to Form PD3 Declaration, the Practice Directive and the Q&A document, prepared and provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice in relation to The Wills (Public Emergencies) Regulations.