If you have ever been involved with a legal matter such as a transaction involving real property, the granting of a power of attorney, or execution of a Will, you may be aware that certain legal documents require the personal attendance of a lawyer to witness its execution. The COVID-19 pandemic presents obvious challenges for lawyers and clients to comply with the legal requirement to have a lawyer physically meet with his/her client to witness the signing of a document.
On March 26, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan enacted emergency regulations to enable lawyers to execute and witness certain documents by video conferencing (i.e. through applications such as Skype, Facetime, or Zoom) to allow lawyers to assist clients while maintaining social distancing so as not to put clients, staff or lawyers at risk. These emergency regulations apply to real estate transaction documents that must be filed with the Land Titles Registry, Powers of Attorney, and affidavits and other sworn documents. While certain strict procedural steps must be followed, our lawyers are committed and remain available to help you in getting important documents signed and witnessed to ensure they will be legally valid in accordance with the emergency provisions that have been put in force by the government.
These emergency regulations do not apply to the signing of Wills and Health Care Directives. Please contact us for further information and advice respecting getting properly executed estate planning documents in place. Our office is committed to finding practical solutions to ensuring Wills and other estate planning documents can be witnessed in a safe manner. To this end, Robertson Stromberg has commenced several initiatives relating to workplace hygiene, monitoring lawyers’ and employees’ health, and following all Health Canada, CDC, and SaskHealth recommendations to maintain the safety of its clients who are required to meet with our lawyers.