May 17, 2021 · 

Bill 245 received royal assent April 19, 2021 which makes various amendments to the Succession Law Reform Act, including the following:

   1.  The Act is amended to provide for the remote witnessing of Wills through the means of audio-visual communication technology for Wills made on and after April 7, 2020.

   2.  Section 16 of the Act, which provides that a will is revoked by the marriage of the testator except in specified circumstances, is repealed.

   3.  Section 17 of the Act provides that if the marriage of the testator and the testator’s spouse is terminated or declared a nullity, the testator’s Will shall be construed as if the former spouse had predeceased the testator. The section is amended to add other specified instances of spousal separation between married spouses that would have the same result, but as of the testator’s death.

   4.  A new section 21.1 is added to give the Superior Court of Justice authority to, on application, make an order validating a document or writing that was not properly executed or made under the Act, if the Court is satisfied that the document or writing sets out the testamentary intentions of a deceased or an intention of a deceased to revoke, alter or revive a Will of the deceased.

   5.  A new section 43.1 is added to provide that the spousal entitlements under Part II of the Act if a person dies intestate in respect of any or all property do not apply if the person and the spouse are separated, as determined under the section, at the time of the person’s death. A complementary amendment is made to section 6 of the Family Law Act.

The amendments do not affect common-law spouses. Remote witnessing of Wills is already in effect however the remaining amendments will not come into effect until at least January 1, 2022.

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