The law says that for a Will to be validly signed it must have 2 independent witnesses who are present with the Will-maker when the Will is signed. The recent COVID-19 restrictions which require social distancing and restrictions on visitors to the home and hospitals makes following the legal rules for the execution of Wills extremely difficult. However, the law is designed that way to protect the Will-maker against fraud so it is a delicate balancing act. The UK Ministry of Justice is considering how to relax the rules during the COVID-19 outbreak. In NSW the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment
(Emergency Measures) Act 2020 No 1 has put in place the mechanism for relaxing the requirements using the power to make regulations. However, currently (as at 7 April) the Succession Act 2006, which governs the making of Wills, has not been altered by regulation. Since the law remains pre-COVID-19 at this stage, Mullane & Lindsay are making arrangements to help clients make Wills in these difficult times.