Customers are advised that two new Ministerial Orders (MOs) were issued by the Province to provide a temporary alternative to the in-person execution requirements for wills and personal planning instruments, including representation agreements and enduring powers of attorney (EPOA).
These new MOs are in effect May 19, 2020 and do not affect Land Title Act requirements for remote witnessing. All temporary measures for remote witnessing under the Land Title Act remain the same.
The new orders deal with requirements for execution via electronic means under the Power of Attorney Act and the Wills, Estates and Success Act respectively. While the MOs provide that execution in accordance with the order will result in a valid document under each of those Acts, requirements for remote witnessing under the Land Title Act remain unchanged. Please refer to Practice Bulletin 01-20: Process for Remote Witnessing of Affidavits for Use in Land Title Applications for Land Title Act requirements.
In practice for example, this means that if an EPOA is signed and witnessed by a BC lawyer or notary in accordance with Ministerial Order No. M162, a statement to that effect must be contained in the EPOA and, in order to meet the Part 5 requirements under the Land Title Act, a section 49 affidavit must also be included with your land title application explaining the circumstances. Customers are reminded that Section 51 (2) of the Land Title Act requires the execution of a power of attorney must be witnessed or proved in the manner required for instruments by Part 5. Sections 42-48 in Part 5 of the Land Title Act requires individuals and corporations executing an instrument to appear before an officer. However, in these unusual circumstances due to COVID-19, the Registrar will accept an Affidavit of Execution sworn under section 49 of the Land Title Act.