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Executing a Will during Covid 19

Executing a Will during Covid 19

Executing a Will during Covid 19

In Queensland, a will is not valid unless it is signed by the will maker ‘in the presence of’ at least 2 witnesses ‘present at the same time’.

During this pandemic and times of uncertainty is more vital than ever to think about who you are leaving behind in the event that you pass away and what are you leaving behind. Without a will you leave it up to the legislation and the Public Trustee of Queensland to decide what happens to your assets.

Best to be prepared.

With the new rules in place and with most of us social distancing or self-isolating how can we still get wills signed and ensure they meet all the required criteria?

Does the will maker and the witnesses have to be physically present in the same room at the time of signing or is ‘digital presence’ sufficient?

In short, yes, physical presence is necessary. But what if the will maker is unable to be in the same room as the witnesses due to COVID-19 social distancing and self-isolating?

The witnesses must be able to ‘attest and subscribe’ the will in the presence of the will maker.

What does that mean? It means that the 2 witnesses are essentially confirming that they indeed saw the will maker sign the Will. The wording of the ‘attestation clause’  is critical in these circumstances and invalid witness or execution may invalidate your Will.

At Smart Legal, we would suggest the following:

  1. Contact us at Smart Legal to discuss your wishes over the phone;
  2. We can ask draft your will for you and email it to you for review and for you to print at home to get it executed;
  3. In order to meet the requirement of having 2 witnesses, ask 2 people that you know to watch you sign your name using a black pen on every page of the will;
  4. when you have finished signing deliver the will to your witnesses while maintaining 1.5m distance including the pen you used to sign it;
  5. everywhere the will maker has signed, the witnesses must also sign their names using a black pen; and
  6. scan the will and send it to our office via email and you can also post the original to our office if you wish for us to store your will for you.