Legal practitioners may find the following tips helpful for maintaining physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Practice Tip #1: Using Videoconference to Facilitate Swearing of Section 49 Affidavits
Legal practitioners may wish to include another staff member from their firm in the initial videoconference set up to verify the clients’ identity, and ask the clients to sign their names in view of the camera. The clients would then electronically send a picture of the signatures to the practitioner and his/her staff member. This way, the staff member could be in a position to swear that he/she is acquainted with the transferors and their signatures. The clients could subsequently sign land title documents without an officer witness, and send them to the law or notary firm’s staff member, who would then swear an Affidavit of Execution under section 49.
Practice Tip #2: Witness and Execution of Corporate Transferor
The LTSA received this practice tip from a customer about how his office is maintaining physical distance while meeting the witnessing requirements for execution by a corporate transferor. The steps outlined below meet the requirement under section 44(3) of the Land Title Act; only one authorized signatory of a corporation must have their signature witnessed by an officer.
- A corporate transferor appoints its legal representative as an additional authorized signatory.
- The corporate transferor has its authorized signatory execute the instrument, and email the executed instrument to the appointed legal representative.
- The appointed legal representative then executes the instrument as the second authorized signatory, witnessed by an officer in the firm who is maintaining a safe physical distance. It is this signature that meets the section 44(3) witnessing requirement for executing the instrument.
- The legal representative submits the form to the Land Title Office.