Victoria has introduced a permanent procedure for remote execution of wills.
The procedure arises from the temporary COVID-19 related remote execution and witnessing laws, that are now repealed.
The remote execution of wills requires:
- A special witness, who can be an Australian legal practitioner or justice of the peace;
- All steps of the procedure to be completed on the same day and within Victoria;
- The testator to sign the will – or to direct someone to sign the will on their behalf, with that direction being heard by the witnesses – with all witnesses seeing the signature by audio visual link, or a combination of physical presence and audio visual link;
- The special witness to be the last person to witness the will;
- The will to be emailed to any witness attending by audio visual link, who must:
- be reasonably satisfied that the will is the same document they witnessed the testator sign;
- ensure that there is a statement on the will noting that the witness witnessed the will being signed by audio visual link in accordance with the procedure;
- sign the will, with the testator clearly seeing them do so by audio visual link; and
- in the case of the special witness, check to ensure the will complies with the remote execution procedure and also ensure there is a statement on the will noting that the will was witnessed in accordance with the procedure and that they are a special witness and note whether there is a recording of the remote execution process.
The procedure for remote execution of wills also applies to revoking or altering an existing will.
The By Lawyers Wills (Vic) guide has been updated accordingly. This includes the addition of two new jurat clause precedents to the matter plan: Remote execution procedure – Witness and Remote execution procedure – Special witness.