On Friday 17 April 2020, the New Zealand Government made urgent new laws for the signing of Oaths and Affirmations, and Wills by means of video conferencing (Zoom, Facetime, Skype etc.)
This is a significant step.
Although as a lawyer working in this community, I love meeting my clients face to face, during Level 4 (and the likely Level 3 restrictions), I simply can’t. To do so, is a breach of the COVID-19 rules and as importantly poses a risk to community health and safety.
Legal work, unless it relates to protection of self and property, or other urgent court matters is not an essential service under current lockdown rules.
I, along with hundreds of other lawyers, have been advocating on behalf of our clients since before the lockdown to ensure that important so called ‘non-essential’ legal matters can continue to be dealt with. This has meant that liaising with banks, and other parties, I have prepared and/or witnessed many legal documents (including Enduring Powers of Attorney) by video conferencing services during the lockdown period. But there have been problems doing this with Wills.
Now, there is a clear way to prepare a formal, valid will using video conferencing and clear guidelines for Oaths/Affirmations, Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney.
I continue to be able to offer ordinary witnessing/certifying duties (by video conference) and to assist with legal questions you may have by telephone, free of charge for my local community. Please let me know if I can help.
Epidemic Preparedness (Oaths and Declarations Act 1957) Immediate Modification Order 2020
Epidemic Preparedness (Wills Act 2007—Signing and Witnessing of Wills) Immediate Modification Order 2020
Note from the Author
I get plenty of time to think about legal matters while I am on the road.
This blog shares those thoughts and also answers some of the many questions people ask me. Hopefully there is something of interest to you. If there is a subject you would like covered then let me know!
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