One impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many people have prioritised making or reviewing their current Will. Formalising your wishes in a Will can understandably put anxious minds at ease and it’s no surprise that there has been a recent surge in this area.
There are some hard and fast legal rules surrounding the making of a Will and this week in Keeping it Legal, we want to cover off on the execution requirements for Wills and your options during COVID-19.
Your Will must be executed in the presence of two independent witnesses.
With social distancing, this might be a big ask but it is a requirement for a Will to be considered formal. Failure to execute your Will formally may mean your Executor has to apply to the Supreme Court to have your Will declared valid. It is always recommended that you prepare your Will in the correct way.
What if I am in quarantine?
If you are under self-imposed or government mandated quarantine and cannot access two independent witnesses, there are new rules applying between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. You may be able to execute your Will in the presence of two independent witnesses by way of video conference, provided you fulfil a range of other requirements. Many legal professionals are already offering flexible solutions for the execution of documents and these new rules will enable them to provide services as a last resort, where physical attendance is not possible.
Preparing your Will in the correct way with the help of an experienced legal professional can save time, money and headaches for your loved ones down the track. If you’d like to get in contact with us to make or amend your Will or ask us a question about execution of your Will during COVID-19, contact Gerard Pender or our friendly Wills and Estates team.
Until next time – Keep it Legal!
*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon