Is it important to have a will in place during Covid-19? Advice from our Wills and Estates Lawyers in Brisbane
During Covid-19, our Wills and Estates Lawyers in Brisbane have had many enquiries about updating our client’s wills. We advise that now is a good time to revisit your will or execute a will if you don’t already have one.
Under normal circumstances, we advise updating your will whenever you experience a major life change (for example: when you get married, have a child or purchase property). However, it’s just as important to do so during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
You want to make sure that your family’s future is secured and that what you leave behind goes to the people that you want it to.
What happens if you die without a valid will?
To die “intestate” means to die without a valid will. If you die intestate, your estate will pass in accordance with the Intestacy Laws in the Succession Act. Additional accosts can be incurred by your loved ones in having the Court appoint an Administrator.
Do you still have to attend your solicitor’s office to execute your will during Covid-19 restrictions?
In short, the answer is no.
We highly recommend visiting us in person to execute your will, if you can. That is, if you are not sick or have not come into contact with someone with Covid-19.
The reason we recommend this is because this is a very strict area of law and there is no room for mistakes. Also, to execute a will, you need two independent witnesses. Visiting us in person makes this easier as we will always have solicitors and paralegals in the office to be your witnesses.
However, if you cannot visit us in person due to the Coronavirus, you can execute your will from home. In these circumstances, we can provide you with either a phone or video consultation. We can print out and send to you very detailed instructions about how to validly execute the will with two independent witnesses.
Who should be my witnesses?
You should have two witnesses who are not beneficiaries or the executor of the will. We always advise clients to have completely independent witnesses to avoid situations where someone challenges the will in the future.
As mentioned above, two of our solicitors or paralegals would be suitable witnesses. However, if you are executing the will from home, a neighbour or family friend would be suitable examples.
Usually, the rules about witness requirements are very strict and witnesses must be present when you are signing your will. However, due to Covid-19, the Supreme Court have announced a direction that says your witness may be present through video chat, rather than in person. This applies only until the 30th of September 2020 with extra requirements that must be met.
If you or your loved one are in a position to revisit your will, contact our trusted Wills and Estates Lawyers in Brisbane. We can arrange a consultation either through phone, video or at our office. Call us on 1300 402 393 or contact us to book online.
Download your free guide to preparing your will here.