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Is your will Covid-19 Proof?





In terms of the Wills Act 2007, a will must be in writing and the will-maker must sign their will in the presence of 2 witnesses. The witnesses also have to sign the will in the will-maker’s presence. Neither the witnesses nor the witnesses’ spouse or partner can inherit in terms of the will.


As you can imagine, these requirements can make it impossible for you to draw up your will while you are required to self-isolate in your bubble during the Covid-19 crisis. Either because you might not have 2 other people living with you who can witness the signing of your will or, if you do, those witnesses, or their spouses or partners, would most probably be the people who would inherit in terms of your will.

In response, Government has made a temporary law change to modify the requirements for signing and witnessing wills under section 11 of the Act. This law change only applies while the epidemic notice issued by Government is in place. Once the notice is lifted the law will go back to how it originally was.

The change allows wills to be signed and witnessed using audio-visual links (for example, Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc). In other words, witnesses can sign a copy of the will in front of the will-maker by audio-visual link.

The will must make it clear on the copy that it is signed this way because an epidemic notice is in force. Photographs or scans of the signed copies must also be sent as soon as possible to a person who has been chosen to hold the document and all photographs or scans of signed copies of the will. If a lawyer has been involved in preparing and witnessing your will, they can hold the document and all photographs or scans of signed copies of the will. If you make a will while this amendment to the law is in place, it is a valid will and you do not have to redo your will after the epidemic notice is lifted. If you have any questions relating to your will or need assistance in preparing and witnessing your will you can contact us and we will be happy to help. You can phone us on : 09 412 6000 or email us on info@kempsolicitors.co.nz

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