Last week the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland published Practice Direction 10 of 2020, “Informal Wills/COVID-19”.
This is to apply to and assist people who are unable to execute a Will in the physical presence of two witnesses due to government enforced/ recommended or self-imposed isolation or quarantine arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The direction will apply to Wills signed between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 and enables people to sign a Will without being in the physical presence of two witnesses as long as the document is witnessed in the presence of one or two witnesses by way of video conference.
The following criteria must also be met:
1. The Will must be drafted by a solicitor or a solicitor must be one of the witnesses to the Will or the person supervising the execution of the Will.
2. The testator intends the document to take immediate effect as their Will, alteration to their Will or full or partial revocation of their Will.
3. The witness or witnesses are able to identify the document being executed.
Where someone dies and has executed a Will, an alteration to or revocation of a Will in these circumstances, a Registrar may constitute the Supreme Court and can hear and decide an application to dispense with the witnessing requirements under the Succession Act 1981. The Registrar must be provided with evidence to satisfy them that the criteria set out above has been met.
For more information, please contact Sam at TJS Law.