remote video signing Remote Real Estate Signings Using Video During Covid-19

Covid-19 has disrupted the way we live life. Specially, in order to help protect people, the law needed to change quickly. This is not something that the law does well. It took Covid-19 to help adopt remote signing of real estate related documents. In fact, as of April 3rd, the Province of Alberta now allows land titles video signing, at least temporarily, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, Alberta help with all manner of real estate transactions. We now offer remote Land Titles video signing for real estate law matters.

A CAVEAT: Several real estate lawyers have reached out for Kahane Law Office’s procedure on remote signing. Lawyers, please note that this documents the basic steps required by the Law Society and the Provincial Government. Specific details on the requirements exist including, but not limited to, additional statements on documents, permissions, confirmations, processes, procedures and documentation of the process. You must follow these procedures for remote Land Titles video signings. Unfortunately, the requirements are not unified and are referenced in both real estate, court, and family law notices as well as those issued by government.

A Brief History Of Why Land Titles Video Signing Took So Long

In the 1600s, the Parliament in England passed a law to ensure that certain documents had more protection from fraud than other documents. Canada adopted that law in our Statute of Frauds. When Alberta adopted the Electronic Transactions Act in 2001. This “modern” law continued the protection of documents deemed important enough to require a “wet” real signature. This includes documents requiring registration at the Alberta Land Titles Office.

More importantly, Alberta law restricted notarizing or commissioning documents so that the notary or commissioner needed to be in the same room as the person swearing an oath. The Alberta Government, by way of Ministerial Order, has now implemented a temporary change to these laws. We still require the real signature on paper, however the person notarizing or commissioning the signatures may do so via video conferencing.

Rules For Alberta Remote Real Estate Signings

A strict adherence to a number of rules must occur for remote or video conference execution of real estate documents in Alberta. For example, for a Land Titles video signing, the following must occur:

  • Client identification, verification and over-site rules still apply.
  • The witnessing, notarizing or commissioning may only be done by a lawyer, who is an active member with the Law Society of Alberta.
  • That lawyer requires current valid insurance in Alberta with the Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association (ALIA). This means that uninsured corporate lawyers or members of the Alberta bar insured elsewhere lack the qualification (unless further clarifications allow for this).
  • Both the lawyer and the client must have the same document in front of them. The lawyer and the client need to check the document to ensure it matches. The lawyer, on receiving the signed document back needs to ensure that the document is the same.
  • Land Titles still needs original “wet” signatures even with the new land titles video signing during Covid-19.
  • Lawyers must take precautions to ensure things like fraud, lack of capacity, duress, theft, etc. are not a factor.
  • The documents require a specific note and / or amended jurat regarding the video conferencing.

Law Society Of Alberta Remote Signing Identification Requirements

In order to reduce the risk of fraud, lawyers contemplating a remote land titles real estate video signing must:

  • Ensure no “red flags” exist as related to the transaction;
  • Get the client’s written consent to a remote video signing and for the recording of the signing;
  • Receive a copy of the client’s identification electronically before the video signing;
  • At the start of the video, confirm the client’s photo ID is valid and government issued. The ID must also match the one sent in before the video signing (front and back);
  • Confirm the person taking part in the video-conference matched the Identification;
  • Ensure the Id is visible and legible over the videoconferencing platform and take a screen shot of the front and back of the ID during the remote real estate video signing;

Process for Remote Land Titles Video Signings

The process for videoconferencing of remote Land Titles video signings during Covid-19 requires a number of steps. For example, these steps include:

  • Identify the client with valid ID
  • Ensure that audio and video connection is clear and that the lawyer can see all the individuals signing the documentation;
  • The lawyer ensuring that they see no concerns surrounding the signing of the documents as above;
  • All clients initial each page as the session progresses;
  • The lawyer addresses all questions or concerns during the signing;
  • Confirmation of the accuracy of all sworn statements;
  • The lawyer administers the oath or declaration;
  • Each client then signs the required page(s);
  • The client sends and electronic copy to the lawyer;
  • Immediate delivery of original documents to the law firm;
  • The lawyer may then sign the documents after comparing the client signed copy to the original.

Keeping Clients Safe With Remote Lawyer Signings

The whole Kahane Law Office team of lawyers, paralegals and support staff prioritize the health and safety of you and your family. With video real estate signings during the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone remains safe. Call us today to learn more or to get us started on your real estate transaction. Email us at email today to contact us or call us in Calgary at 403-225-8810.