Last night the Qld Government passed legislation that is the first step to allowing wills and EPAs to be witnessed via video conference.
But a warning, we’re not quite there yet…
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 (see reg 9) allows the Government to make regulations where an Act permits or requires the signing or witnessing of a document. It provides that the Act is taken to include a regulation making power, and those regulations may prescribe “modified requirements or arrangements” about a relevant matter required or permitted under the Act.
So until regulations are made, there is not yet any change to the law requiring two witnesses to wills and one qualified witness to EPAs, both witnessing requiring physical presence.
NSW passed similar legislation in March, and their regulations were only made yesterday (see link here).
The Queensland Supreme Court issued a Practice Direction yesterday (see my blog post here) allowing applications for probate for COVID-19 related informal wills to be heard by a Registrar rather than a Judge, in certain specific circumstances, which will dramatically reduce the cost of such applications post-death.
Hopefully regulations won’t be too far off…