L.L. B., D.D.N.
Notary, Wealth Management
In the COVID-19 era, what if you had planned to carry out a real estate transaction and go to the notary to sign a mortgage and a deed of sale? And what if you want to review your will, your protection mandate, your cohabitation agreement or any other notarial act?
Faced with these important questions, special measures were taken to maintain these essential services.
Accordingly, on March 27, 2020, the Government of Quebec decided to authorize notaries to execute notarial acts using technological means. Since the beginning of April, they have been able to sign notarial acts electronically which have the same legal effect as if they had been signed in person before a notary.
A safe alternative
You can therefore rest assured that a notarial act en minute executed remotely using technological means is authentic: this means that its content, the accuracy of the date and the signatures affixed thereto will be recognized by the courts without having to provide proof thereof.
It is a safe alternative to physical meetings between notaries and clients, which complies with government social distancing guidelines.
Note that notaries are not obliged to do things this way: it’s simply an option made available to them to facilitate the legal protection of citizens in need during the health crisis. As this is a discretionary choice, we advise you to check with your notary as to whether they offer this alternative to their clients.
For those who are wondering if the signing of notarial acts electronically is an exceptional measure that will remain in place, it should be emphasized that this is an alternative implemented temporarily to protect Quebecers in a health crisis and not a permanent solution. This procedure is in effect for the duration of the health emergency decreed by the government and is renewed weekly.
Buying and selling a home
The current measures allow notaries to process urgent files, for example real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers can close the transaction on the date specified in the promise to purchase. So if you had planned to move into your new home in the next few weeks or months, rest assured that this is still possible. You can become a homeowner with complete peace of mind.
Notarial acts related to your personal situation
If you are wondering whether it’s better to wait before making or remaking your will, your protection mandate in case of incapacity, your cohabitation agreement, your marriage contract or any other notarial act, we invite you to contact a notary who can advise you by assessing your situation and your needs.
The notary can also tell you how long it will take to process your file, since in this pandemic period it may take a little longer than usual. There’s nothing better than communication to know what to expect!
One thing is certain: if you’re ready to proceed, there’s no need to wait, since alternative measures and protective measures in accordance with public health orders are in place
In adaptive mode
In addition to the possibility of signing notarial acts by technological means, some notaries have used their imagination in order to bring their office into line with government directives. Others have also adapted their notarial practice, in particular to meet the urgent needs of people who don’t have access to technological means, but who still wish to review their will and their protection mandate in case of incapacity.
- asking clients a series of questions,
- adapting the layout of their office,
- placing clear directives at the office entrance,
- requiring you to disinfect your hands upon entering the office,
- adding plexiglass,
- or moving outside, in compliance with distancing requirements, to meet clients for signing,
notaries have innovated and adapted to continue to offer their services, while meeting their ethical, legislative and regulatory obligations in the context of COVID-19.
The fact remains that notaries can, at their discretion, choose not to meet with clients in person. In any case, it’s advisable to contact your notary to verify directly with him or her the preferred means of handling your file.
Innovating to serve our clients
At Professionals’ Financial, our team of notaries is always available and attentive to your needs, adapting its services by various technological means, in particular through virtual meetings (videoconferences).
Our team is always well informed and on the lookout for legal changes in order to properly advise you. We want to give you peace of mind during this uncertain period. Thanks to the various services offered, we can help you carry out the projects that are important to you or assist you with your estate plan or the settlement of your estate.
Meeting your expectations, being present and offering you peace of mind are a priority for us. Discuss it with with your advisor.
The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of this information, and it may be incomplete. The opinions expressed are based upon our analysis and interpretation of this information and are not to be construed as a recommendation. For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your wealth management advisor or your tax specialist, accountant or legal advisor.