Canadian Lawyer

June 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 8 of 51 7 create a checklist for videoconference will signing and power of attorney. The checklist acknowledges that two witnesses must be "in the presence of " the testator when a typed will is signed — which has historically required physical presence. Now, the new emergency order confirms that the "presence" may be by "audio-visual communication technology." But, says Awerbuck, challenges remain. In-person interactions that lead up to a will's signing can reveal crucial signals about a client's intentions, capacity and any duress they could face. There are also more tech- nical challenges to the new videoconferencing option. The original document will need to be sent to three different locations and witnessed through three different video calls, potentially. An affidavit for probate still requires an inter- action with a lawyer or commissioner. A hospitalized, elderly patient may not have access to the right technology, says Atin. When the rule changed, there was no court-form affi- davit for the new system. The company behind the registry, NoticeConnect, estimates consumer will regis- trations are up over 300 per cent. Social distance conundrums in real estate Q&A Fast Facts: - Real Estate co-chairwoman for the Federation of Ontario Law Associations - York University, Osgoode Hall LL.M. – 2003 - University of New Brunswick LL.B. – 1997 Merredith MacLennan Partner MEROVITZ POTECHIN LLP, OTTAWA What issues are lawyers facing, as far as ability to close, for clients to see a property they're buying, the mortgage market? A: In what I'm calling a hybrid meeting, lawyers are meeting remotely with clients over video conference or over the phone to review and explain all the documents. Then — because most of the lenders are still requiring in-person meetings to sign documents — they're doing the second part of the hybrid meeting, which is to meet in person, but to keep social distancing. I've heard of very creative things: Clients are sitting in the car and the lawyers are watching them sign the documents and then passing them through the car window . . . We've been working very hard to get the banks to remove the requirement for in-person meetings. All the title insurance companies in Ontario have confirmed that there will be full fraud coverage for lenders, even if lawyers are meeting with clients remotely and are not getting wet ink signatures. Right now, everybody should be minimizing their contact with other people . . . I think it's unconscionable for banks to require in-person meetings. The real estate program at the Law Society of Ontario sold out — obviously, there are a lot of people that have questions. Are there any other questions that came up in those sessions? A: A lot of the issues that came up at the law society program were practical issues: "How do I deal with this: My client is elderly and has no technology but is terrified to leave her house or apartment — doesn't want me to go there because she's quite concerned — but yet she signed an agreement to purchase a condo several weeks ago. I don't know how I'm going to get her to sign any documents." Some lawyers are insisting on original documents. How do I do that? Alpha Adroit Forensic Engineering and Expert Opinion Alpha Adroit Engineering Ltd. • Expert Witness • Expert Opinion • Failure Investigation • Forensic Geotechnical Engineering • Remedial Geotechnical Engineering • Forensic Civil Engineering Construction For: • Litigation • Arbitration • Insurance claims • Failure Investigation and Repair Toll-Free (Canada only): 1-844-423-7648 Edmonton: 780-708-4110 Calgary: 403-918-4110 Red Deer: 403-918-4115 Vancouver: 778-322-4110 Saskatoon: 306-881-4115 Fort McMurray: 780-607-4114 "People don't like to do this at the best of times: deal with their wills or powers of attorneys." Risa Awerbuck, Torkin Manes LLP

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