One80 Law does things differently: for example, we were early adopters of virtual signing for legal documents and are the only fully virtual, mobile, and remote law firm in Calgary. Virtual signing is directly in-line with both our offerings and our promise of nearly 24/7 availability… which has become even more important during COVID-19, when safety and flexibility have to work hand-in-hand. When necessary, in person meetings are also possible with strict COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
So what exactly is virtual signing, and how does it work to benefit our clients, staff, and community?
What is Virtual Signing? What Are the Requirements to Sign Virtually?
“Virtual signing” refers to the execution of legal documents over Zoom or other secure 2-way video conference platform whereby the client prints paper copies of documents and signs in ink with a One80 lawyer acting as witness. The ability to virtually sign documents was modified on May 15th, 2020 by Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General in order for people to safely sign and witness affidavits, wills, enduring powers of attorney, and personal directives.
What are the requirements to sign virtually?
- That every participant must be connected in real-time at the time of signing or witnessing, i.e a video conference
- That a lawyer must be present to provide legal advice and services throughout the virtual signing or witnessing
In addition, there are eligibility requirements that must be met before, during, and after the virtual signing. They are as follows:
Before the Virtual Signing Or Witnessing
- Lawyers must secure written consent from the client; screenshots must be taken of both the client and their identification
- All copies of identification must be legible and include both the front and back; only current, government-issued photo ID should be accepted
- The virtual signing must be conducted in one session without interruption in order to be legal; audio and video must be continuously streaming for the duration of the meeting, so connectivity verification is required ahead of the start-time
- All original documents must be delivered to the client before the meeting, either via hard copy or electronically for the client to print
During the Virtual Signing
- Ahead of signing any documentation, the client must display the same identification that was emailed in order for the lawyer to take verification screenshots
- The entirety of the package must be reviewed page-by-page with the client, with the client initialling all pages
- Confidentiality must be preserved throughout the meeting
- The lawyer must witness all signature’s via video and record the meeting
- Upon signing, the client must email a PDF version or picture of the signed documentation to the lawyer
After the Meeting
- All original documents must be returned to the lawyer; upon receipt of these documents, the lawyer must compare the documents and signatures to ensure that there are no missing pages (and that all signatures match)
- The lawyer must then complete all relevant documentation that requires further signatures
- The lawyer must note the minutes of the meeting, as well as the identification of all parties who were present
- The lawyer must provide the client with a scanned copy or photocopy of all final versions of the documentation
Virtual Signing and COVID-19 Safety: the Safe and Convenient Option for Signing and Witnessing
Our team is committed to your comfort and safety, which is why we were early adopters of the method. Signing and witnessing virtually throughout COVID-19 provides:
- Convenience for those who are physically handicapped or unwell
Even after COVID-19, we anticipate more and more clients to opt for virtual signage. Here at One80 Law, that suits us just fine: as a remote law firm that chooses to be 100% web-based in order to better service our clientele, we love nothing more than being able to offer quality service at your convenience.
Book an appointment with us today to learn if virtual signing is recommended for your situation and legal needs.