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The Government has made a temporary law change for signing and witnessing Wills under section 11 of the Wills Act 2007.

It is surprising as this has been asked for a number of years and for whatever reason has never been allowed. Albeit it is a temporary option under Covid-19 people can now take advantage of this.

As sourced from the Justice website https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/covid-19-news/information-for-people-signing-and-witnessing-wills/ these are the instructions you need to follow:

What changes does this make?

This modification order amends section 11 of the Wills Act 2007, which sets out signing and witnessing requirements for wills.

The change allows wills to be signed and witnessed using audio-visual links (for example, Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc):

  • A person who is signing on the will-maker’s behalf (pursuant to section 11(3)(b)), can sign in front of the will-maker by audio-visual link from another place.
  • Witnesses can witness the will-maker sign a copy of the document by audio-visual link.
  • Witnesses can sign a copy of the document in front of the will-maker by audio-visual link.
  • All people signing a copy of 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 be sent as soon as practical 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 or trust company 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.

The changes made are temporary. The modification order will expire after the Epidemic Notice is lifted, and the law will return to normal.


Roles in Managing an Estate Plan

NOTE: This information is not intended as legal advice. For further information as to how this affects you, please contact your Financial Adviser. As the name implies, SimpleWills is an online service that allows a cost-effective way to write a Will with your Adviser.

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