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Electronic wills to be accepted in BC

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:51 PDT, Mon June 22, 2020

BC courts will accept electronic wills and allow for remote witnessing.

Under new proposed amendments to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, wills can be created on a computer and signed electronically. The amendments will also allow the use of technology for the witnessing of wills by people who are in different locations. 

“This modernization initiative was underway before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has made the reasons for these changes obvious to all British Columbians,” said Attorney General David Eby. “Requiring lawyers or notaries to tromp in and out of hospitals to satisfy legal requirements for wills that could be met easily with existing technology is no longer acceptable to the public. Happily, this is a shift that is endorsed by most practitioners, as well as leading law reform work already underway by a respected national body.”

In BC, like many provinces, an emergency order was made to allow the remote witnessing of wills during the pandemic. By making this change permanent, this order will not be necessary going forward.

The amendments respond to concerns raised by the public and the legal profession about a lack of flexibility in the rules regarding wills. The changes are based on work being undertaken by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, which makes recommendations to harmonize and reform laws across the country.

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