Immediate changes: Executing a Will during Alert Levels 3 and 4
With many New Zealanders isolating alone or in a bubble that comprises their immediate family, spouse or other relatives, they may not be able to arrange for two other adults to be physically present to witness. The Wills Act provides that any person who witnesses a will or whose spouse/partner witnesses a will cannot benefit from that will.
To overcome that problem on 16 April 2020, the Government passed the Epidemic Preparedness (Wills Act 2007- Signing and Witnessing of Wills) Immediate Modification Order 2020.
The Order allows the will-maker during Alert Levels 3 and 4 to use adults who are not in the will-maker’s physical presence to witness the will-maker’s signature via audio-visual link such as Skype, Zoom, Messenger or Face Time.
We note that the Order requires that the will-maker and witnesses have access to simultaneous audio-visual conferencing capabilities.
It is also important to keep in mind that the video should be positioned so that the camera captures the signature being applied to the document. Parties must also have access to a printer and tools to scan or share a photograph of the executed document immediately after signing.
This article is published for general information purposes only. Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
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