*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

The current pandemic has sent us all spinning. Are you sitting at home, wishing you had sorted out your affairs prior to lockdown? Do you wish you had the peace of mind that your Will has been signed?

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was essential that your Will was signed by you, in the presence of two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries to your Will (for example, a solicitor and legal secretary or two friends).

If your Will was prepared by a solicitor, the signing of your Will usually took place in their office or, in some circumstances, they came to your home. Ultimately, you and your witnesses were in the same room.

The pandemic and Government’s lockdowns have made this difficult. As you would be aware, most solicitors are working from home and as a result of the restrictions, are unable to schedule an in-person conference for you to sign your Will.

The Electronic Transactions Regulation 2017 has provided an alternative mechanism which allows you to sign your Will without your witnesses being in the same room as you.

This means you can sign your Will by audio/visual software while in the comfort of your own home. You, your solicitor and your witnesses can stay safe while adhering to the current lockdown restrictions, as well as giving you piece of mind that your Will has been taken care of.

Once you are happy with your Will, your solicitor will schedule an audio/visual conference (Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams) with you. During this conference, your witnesses must observe you signing your Will. They will then sign their own copy of your Will (a counterpart). The copy of your Will and the counterparts signed by your witnesses will be put together to form your Will.

If you wish to discuss this with a solicitor, please contact one of the Turner Freeman offices for further assistance.