Remote Legal Service and Virtual Signings

By Avi Charney

October 25, 2021

Remote Legal Service and Virtual Signings

We use technology to allow us to meet, review and sign any document all from the comfort of your place of choosing.

We do offer face-to-face meetings for those who still prefer them, but most of our services are offered wholly online.

We have our online consultations using a variety of online platforms, including Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, GoogleMeet or other video conferencing technology, and along with telephone, fax and email, we can complete a transaction without ever needing to meet in person.

We believe everyone should have access to justice. Many Canadians do not live near large cities where a good selection of quality lawyers can be found. That’s why we offer personalized legal services at affordable rates to people online throughout Ontario. You should be able to hire a good lawyer wherever you live.

How does it work?

Initial Contact

Let’s have a quick chat to confirm that we can help you. My direct line is 647 550 2918 If you already have an Agreement of Purchase and Sale already signed, you can email it to me: [email protected] and please call to confirm it was received. We will make it official by sending you a retainer agreement or introduction letter with further information about our process and what information we require from you.

What technology is needed?

1. Access to a camera and microphone through your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. I find that, a smartphone screen is too small.

2. Internet access

3. A private setting (your home of office)

4. Valid government-issued photo ID (drivers license)

5. Access to a printer (or for a fee I can courier you the documents)

Remote Real Estate Signings

We conduct signings remotely and thus can close a transaction anywhere in Ontario without ever having to meet. We send you the documents to print, we get on a video conference call and I witness you sign the documents. You scan them and send them back. Usually your wet-in signatures are not required, although when getting a mortgage, a financial institution may require your original signatures. In such circumstances you mail them out to my office.

Put it in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Under the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 17 in Ontario the use of electronic signatures can be used and indeed since COVID19, electronic signatures have been widely accepted even among financial institutions who previously insisted and sometimes still do, on having originals. Below is a sample clause where the parties expressly allow electronic signatures.

The parties acknowledge and agree that all closing documentation can be signed electronically and in counterparts and if so executed and delivered, each document shall be deemed to be an original, shall have the same effect as if each party so executing and delivering the document had executed the same copy of the document and all of which copies when taken together shall constitute one and the same document and same shall be forwarded by email or fax in accordance with the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, S.O.2000, c.17

Remote Commissioning

Remote commissioning is an authentication and signature process for taking affidavits and statutory declarations that uses audio-visual technology. It is therefore not conducted in the physical presence of the commissioner. An example of remote commissioning is signing via video conferencing, where I witness you sign the relevant legal documents through video.  You then returns the original executed document to the me (you can scan them to me), upon receipt, I sign as a witness to your signature.

Electronic Communication

Electronic communication officially means that the oath or declaration must be administered by an electronic method of communication in which we can see, hear and communicate with each other in real time throughout the entire transaction, ie: by videoconference.

Virtual Estate Planning

We will schedule a virtual estate planning meeting by videoconference. I will also send you a welcome package that explains what kind of information to think about in advance of our meeting.

Shortly after our meeting…

You will receive a summary of our virtual estate planning discussion and the drafts estate planning documents for you to review.

The ball is in your court…

You confirm that everything is correct and as you want. You can email or schedule a call to discuss any questions or changes that come up.

The signing Wills during COVID19

Technically there are three options. The best option is to come to my office at 608-1120 Finch Ave. W. in Toronto and I will arrange a witness. We comply with COVID19 guidelines.

Another option is sign by counterpart, by videoconference. This way we each sign an identical copy of your estate planning documents, and only when put together do they become valid. As such, you drop off or courier to me your signed copies to package and send back to you. Note that this is a temporary solution during COVID19, allowed by an emergency Order that is renewed from month to month.

The final option is if you provide your own two witnesses. I will provide detailed instructions on how to go about signing properly. I could be on a video call to make sure your signing is done right.

What happens next?

If you sign at my office, you leave with your documents in hand, after I have provided the necessary Affidavit of Execution and scanned your documents, thus retaining a digital copy and returning the originals to you with storage instructions and guidelines to your executors.

If you are signing your documents by counterpart you need to send me your wet-ink signed copies to combine with my signed copy, making them together your valid Will. I will return your estate planning package to you.

Or with your own two witnesses, you will need to scan and send me copies of your documents along with a release.

Conditions for Remote Commissioning

1. See, Hear, and Communicate in Real Time. The commissioning must take place by an electronic method of communication in which the commissioner and the deponent can see, hear, and communicate with each other in real time throughout the entire transaction.

2. Confirm Deponent’s Identity. The commissioner must confirm the identity of the deponent.

3. Use a Modified Jurat. The commissioner must use a modified version of the jurat that indicates commissioning was administered in accordance with the Regulation, and the location of the commissioner and the deponent at the time of commissioning.

4. Ensure Deponent’s Understanding. The commissioner must take reasonable precautions in the execution of the person’s duties, including ensuring that the deponent understands what is being signed.

5. Maintain Record of Remote Commissioning. The commissioner must keep a record of the transaction.

5. Maintain Record of Remote Commissioning. The commissioner must keep a record of the transaction.

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The general information on this page is not applicable to any specific case and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice and may not be relied on as such. Readers are expressly advised to consult with a qualified lawyer for advice regarding their specific circumstances and entitlements under Ontario law.