The British Columbia Government has introduced legislation to enable courts to accept electronic wills and to permit the remote witnessing of wills.
The changes will benefit British Columbians who, for example, have a disability, are quarantined, live in rural or remote communities, or would have difficulty attending a lawyer’s or notary’s office due to child care or other responsibilities.
These amendments to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act will enable the courts to accept wills that are created on a computer and signed electronically, and for which there is no printed copy. The amendments will also allow the use of technology for the witnessing of wills by people who are in different locations.
The amendments respond to concerns raised by the public and the legal profession about a lack of flexibility in the rules regarding wills, and are based on work undertaken by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, which makes recommendations to harmonize and reform laws across the country.
The amendments enable BC Courts to accept a will that is created, recorded, transmitted or stored on an electronic device (such as a computer, tablet or phone) and signed electronically, as long as the will can be reproduced in a visible form.
If you have any questions or would like advice related to will preparation, estate planning or probate of an estate, or if you have questions in relation to matters of real estate, corporate law, intellectual property and trust matters, please contact us at 604-688-4900 or by email to Paul Barbeau at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Morgan Best at email@example.com