On December 1, 2021, British Columbia became the first Canadian province to pass legislation allowing for electronic signing, video witnessing, and digital storage of wills.
This legislation, called Bill 21, was created to make it easier for BC residents to make their wills at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic showed how inaccessible and inefficient it was to complete documents in person and on paper.
In the past, and still in most other provinces, witnessing required that you and your two witnesses be physically present in the same room while you signed your will.
How to make a digital will with Willful
- Complete your will in the Willful app
- After you check out, you’ll receive an email with an invitation to book your digital signing appointment
- Join two Willful team members on a video call at your appointment time – we’ll walk you through the process of digitally signing your document
- Done! You’ll get a digital copy of your fully executed legal will to store digitally
How to get digital witnesses for your will
Willful offers a digital witnessing service where we provide two witnesses to execute your will virtually for $40 plus taxes. All you need is a device capable of using Zoom video conferencing and screen share. We use DocuSign to witness your document securely.
During your scheduled appointment, we will ask for a piece of photo ID to confirm it is you.
You and the two witnesses will then each take turns sharing screens while signing the document with DocuSign. Once this is done, you will receive an email with a fully executed PDF of your will, which will be considered your legal original.
You need to store the will in the original format it was signed. So if you digitally create and sign your will, you would store it by keeping it on a hard drive, in a digital vault or on a USB drive.
Wherever you choose to put it, it’s also important to let your executor know where it is so they can access it in future.
Can I make a handwritten will in BC?
Yes, while digital wills are legally valid in BC, that doesn’t mean you must make or sign yours digitally. You can just as easily use an online platform like Willful to make your will, then print it out and sign and witness it in person.