COVID-19 Operational Changes: Wills and Powers of Attorney

A necessary side effect of social distancing and remote work has meant a reshuffle in the way business is conducted. In the past, the witnessing of documents relating to wills and estates had to be completed in person. Today, new laws from the Ontario government make it possible for us to complete wills and powers of attorney remotely.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and our customers, we’ve introduced several measures into our daily operations. If you’re interested in creating a will or establishing a power of attorney, here’s what you can expect from our office.

Wills and Powers of Attorney

Physical Modifications to Our Barrie Office

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, we have introduced several modifications to our office space.

  • The suite door is now always left open to eliminate the need for guests to touch the doorknob.
  • Chairs have been removed from the waiting area, making it easier for guests to maintain a safe distance of 2 meters.
  • We have installed clear plexiglass screens in front of each workstation and in the middle of all meeting tables to allow for safe face-to-face communication.
  • All high-touch contact points (such as ballpoint pens, chair arms and seats, and meeting tables) are cleaned and sanitized after every use.

Will and Power of Attorney Signing Procedures

We recognize the importance of being able to conduct business related to wills and estates, which is why we now have several procedures in place to allow our clients to sign documents and swear affidavits in a safe way.

If you need to sign a document, there are different options you can choose from.

  • Video Conferencing – In April, the Ontario government changed the laws regarding signing and witnessing wills. Our Barrie office now allows signing appointments via video conference. We support several conferencing platforms, including Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom, so if this is an option you’d like to pursue, simply contact our office to create your appointment.
  • Drive-Through – While we may not offer milkshakes or burgers, we do now provide a drive-through signing option for our clients. Clients may drive in and sign the necessary documents from the comfort of their vehicle, which also allows us to witness the process. At all times, we maintain a strict social distancing protocol of 2 meters between all individuals. Sworn affidavits, prepared after signing, will be compiled as the client waits. At the conclusion of the visit, the original, completed documents will be provided to the client.

The Importance of a Will or Power of Attorney

When it comes to matters dealing with wills and estates, the key to a smooth and clear transition is a completed will and a power of attorney. A will is your way of directing your money and assets after passing on, whereas a power of attorney is a legal document in which you designate a specific individual to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.

Wills and powers of attorney both require signed affidavits by witnesses. Our new office procedures allow us to supply witnesses for you, or for you to supply your own, and to safely provide you with the original signed documents.

Peter Lamprey: Barrie Lawyers You Can Count On

For over 30 years, we’ve been providing reliable, trusted advice to Barrie and Simcoe County. No matter whether you want to create a will or purchase a new home, we have the expertise to make it happen. We understand that each and every situation is different, and we’re well-known for going above and beyond to help our clients.

If you have concerns about remaining safely self-isolated but still want to create a will or a power of attorney, please let us know. We’ll work with you to determine a safe way to make it happen.

For more information on our legal services, including Barrie lawyers, wills and estates, and real estate, give us a call at (705) 722-1114. You can also contact our office online.