Australia sees a spike in wills in response to coronavirus

Date: Apr 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we go about our daily lives. From working remotely and practising social distancing to the closures of entertainment hubs, pubs and restaurants, it seems like the general public has a lot more time on their hands.

While faced with the stark reality of a highly contagious pandemic and being home, it seems like many Australians have begun to get their affairs in order for the future. The Australian Financial Review reported that the Australian Unity Trustees experienced a 20% increase in the number of wills being drafted or amended since the outbreak.

Why the drastic increase?

The spokesperson for the Australian Unity Trustees, Anna Hacker, explained that the majority of the individuals changing their wills were ages 65 and over, doing so in response to changes in their personal circumstances.

A global pandemic has put many things into perspective, and with added time on their hands many individuals are seeing the value in creating or updating their wills to be more accurate to their current lifestyle and assets.

Of course, trying to create a binding legal document in the age of social distancing can be problematic. Each state has different requirements about who needs to witness the physical signing of the will to ensure the creator is in a clear state of mind. With stay at home orders in place, this can obviously be challenging, and if the rules are not followed, these wills could easily be contested in the future against the creator's wishes.

If you are choosing to take this time to write or amend a will, make sure you're following the correct legal proceedings so it is binding.

Can you create and sign wills online?

As difficult as it can be to create a will during this time due to legalities, some states have rules in place to make things easier. New South Wales, in particular, has legislation that allows wills to be witnessed and signed electronically, ABC News reported.

With other tools like video conferencing becoming popular, lawyers can still converse with clients to determine their state of mind and witness the signing of the document. While other states and territories have yet to pass similar rules, NSW is setting the stage for a new way to create legal documents during a pandemic.

If you have more questions about disputing a will during these times, Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Will Dispute Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to receive help understanding your rights and filing a claim.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.