Preparing your Will during COVID-19
We are all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to social distancing guidelines.
During this time it is essential that you have a current and valid will. With many in Queensland electing to self-isolate or entering quarantine, it has been challenging for some to ensure their wills are up to date or to make their will for the first time.
The Queensland Government has now introduced the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response-Wills and Enduring Documents) Regulation 2020. The regulation permits the witnessing of wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney using audio visual technology.
In relation to wills, under this regulation:
- a will can be witnessed by audio visual link where at least one of the witnesses is a special witness – such as a lawyer or a justice of the peace;
- the audio visual link must enable the witness to be satisfied that the signatory is signing the document of their own accord and in real time; and
- if so satisfied of the above, the special witness can sign the original document once it is provided to them or a true copy of it – such as a scanned copy.
The special provisions of the regulation will expire 31 December 2020. It is intended that the special witnessing provisions of the regulation be used to help those who are unable to attend a solicitor’s office or obtain other witnesses due to COVID-19 restrictions.
It is important to note that the regulation has only amended the witnessing requirements of wills to allow for witnessing via audio visual link. It does not change what is required to ensure your will is valid and enforceable – you must be of sound mind and able to give the instructions and the gifts noted in your will.
To ensure your will is valid, and if you need to make use of the new audio visual witnessing regulations, it is recommended that you consult a professional to assist you.
For any Will enquires please contact the team at Miller Sockhill Lawyers Maroochydore.