I recently had an appointment with my lawyer to sign the papers on the purchase of a property.
I have completed several purchases with my lawyer over the past two decades and all of a sudden, she requested that I provide photo identification.
I admit I do not carry photo ID as I do not drive and my passport is safely put away at home and apparently, my Ontario Health Card is not acceptable?
I had to return to the office with ID and get it copied which was a real hassle. Why is this necessary all of a sudden?
A couple of outside influences have required that all clients provide photo ID. The Law Society of Upper Canada that is the governing body for lawyers in Ontario has implemented far-reaching policies that we must proactively identify our clients with the use of proper photo ID.
Even though you have dealt with your lawyer over the span of many years, the Law Society still requires we obtain proper ID for the opening of each file.
Second, and even more important in real estate files is the requirement to obtain this ID to make a primary attempt to avoid identity theft and potential mortgage fraud.
With the increase in people assuming other’s identities and engaging a lawyer to register a fraudulent mortgage, financial institutions now require valid photo ID from all clients who are placing any type of financing on a real estate transaction.
This positive identification may seem like a huge and irrelevant requirement but it is entirely necessary from at least two if not more parties.
Jeffrey Cowan is the principal of Cowan Law and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.