On December 1st, 2021, new laws came into effect in British Columbia that allowed BC residents to create an “electronic Will” – a document signed and stored entirely online. After the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, most Canadian Provinces allowed remote witnessing of Wills – meaning that your witnesses could watch you sign the document over a video link. But this law still required the physical document to be mailed to each participant, to be signed in turn. The amendment to the BC Wills, Estates and Succession Act, through legislation called Bill 21, allowed, for the first time, a Will to be signed electronically and stored digitally.
LegalWills.ca has been working with a Canadian company, Syngrafii, for a number of months to pull together a truly unique solution to take advantage of these law changes. On December 1st, at 12:01am, Royce Burningham became the first Canadian in history to electronically sign his Will.
How do we know that this was the first electronically signed Will?
There have certainly been other claims to this title, but fortunately, the LegalWills.ca solution comes with an automatic activity trace called a MasterFile™. This is automatically uploaded into the account holder’s Vault within LegalWills.ca. Royce was kind enough to share his MasterFile™ with us.
The complete MasterFile™ is 23 pages long and provides a detail of every action taken on the video call.