With everyone’s commitment to only leaving their home for essential trips, anyone concerned about being unable to meet with their solicitor to update their Will may now have another option…
Usually, a valid formal Will must be signed by the Willmaker in the physical presence of two witnesses. Those witnesses should not be your appointed executors nor your nominated beneficiaries under the Will. For most people who are respecting the social distancing directives by the government and staying home wherever possible, this means that they do not have anyone independent available to witness their Will.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Queensland issued a Practice Direction allowing a Will to be witnessed by a solicitor via videoconference for the period between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.
No similar directive has been issued by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, however the NSW state government confirmed yesterday that temporary regulations will allow witnessing of wills and enduring powers of attorney by videoconference.
At Fox and Thomas, we have been conducting the majority of our client meetings via videoconference for the past month. So moving to witnessing wills via videoconference will be a seamless transition for our team.
If you are concerned about your estate planning, it is important to know that we can meet with you to discuss your Will, draft those documents and witness your signing the Will all by videoconference, so there is no need for you to attend our office in person.
We will keep you updated as further information comes to light and further legislation is passed.