Canadian Lawyer

May 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 31 of 43

30 LEGAL REPORT FOR MOST lawyers, the move to a world of more electronic documents and less paper, along with Zoom or FaceTime calls, has been a godsend. Not for everything, mind you, but when the circumstances make sense, especially with a pandemic still raging, doing things virtually can be faster, cheaper and safer. But for those who practise trusts and estates law, the virtual shift isn't so simple. Given the ways the laws work in this area of TRUSTS AND ESTATES Where there's a will, there's a way Trusts and estates lawyers are dealing with the challenges of witnessing wills during a pandemic, writes Zena Olijnyk practice, there is still a reliance on paper and witnesses who are traditionally supposed to be physically in the same room and probably should not be a member of the client's family, especially if they are beneficiaries. Then, many of the clients that trusts and estates lawyers deal with are often older, frailer and, given COVID-19, more fearful of leaving the safety of their home. For those clients in long-term-care facilities, there is also the issue of lawyers not being able to visit them in person because of lockdown and social distancing requirements. Finally, there's the issue of determining someone's capacity or being unduly influenced by a person in the same room as the client but can't be seen on the computer screen during a Zoom call. "The biggest change has been the use of modern technology in our practice," says

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