Queensland Supreme Court Responds to COVID-19

Wills and Estates

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DATE PUBLISHED: April 23, 2020

IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS, THE QUEENSLAND SUPREME COURT HAS ISSUED A DIRECTION, RELAXING TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, SOME OF THE FORMAL REQUIREMENTS FOR HAVING A WILL UPHELD AS VALID WHERE IT FALLS SHORT OF THE USUAL EXECUTION REQUIREMENTS. 

This addresses valid concerns surrounding social distancing, in particular the need for a will to be signed in the physical presence of two adult witnesses. 

While it remains our preference to adhere to the usual formalities for will signing, the Queensland Supreme Court has approved a procedure to streamline an application to court after death for declaring a will valid which falls short of the usual formalities.

This regime only applies however if the following conditions are met: 
1.       The will is signed between 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020; 
2.       A solicitor must draft the will, or be a witness to it; 
3.       The witness or witnesses can be “present” by way of video conferencing and see the will-maker sign the document;
4.       Those witnesses must be able to identify the document executed; and
5.       The reason for witnessing a will in this way must be related to COVID-19. 

This direction will be a welcome development in certain cases. However it is always better to have your will witnessed in the physical presence of two independent witnesses so that issues such as this do not need to be considered. 

The McInnes Wilson Lawyers Wills & Estates Team is able to assist with you in making or reviewing your will in whatever your circumstances are. This new direction may assist you if you are currently in isolation because of COVID-19. 

Please contact us to talk about your will or any other estate matters that are concerning you. 

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