Due to the Coronavirus, best practice is to not be with strangers or non-family members. However, a Will is only witnessed by strangers or persons that are not related to you. During periods of ‘lockdown’ in your community when you cannot leave your home the only witnesses maybe your next-door neighbours.
This process assumes a couple are signing their Wills together – ‘window signing’:
- Print your Wills single sided in black and white. Do not print double sided. (If you have no printer or no electricity and Australia Post or couriers are still operating then ask a person with a printer to print out and courier you the Wills.)
- Find two people that are: over 18 years of age and of sound mind. The witnesses cannot be related to you or have any chance of being related to you (e.g. it can’t be your son’s girlfriend because your son could marry that person and then you would be related to the witness). The witnesses cannot be persons that are likely to get anything under the Will. The best witnesses are ‘strangers’ or the ‘next door neighbours’.
- All beneficiaries such as your children move to another part of your home.
- Inside your home move to a closed window or closed glass balcony. Your two witnesses are on the other side of the glass. This is so that you have no contact with each other- other than being able to see and hear your witnesses.
- You need at least 2 identical blue pens. The witnesses can not and should not use a pen that has come into physical contact with you recently – unless it is sanitised. Pick up one of the pens with a tissue and leave it on the outside of the window or glass door before your witnesses are due to arrive. Your witnesses may wear gloves and wipe the pen down with hand sanitiser.
- No one can lose visual sight with each other at any time. For example, if you need to use the toilet during the Will signing then bin the Wills, print them off again and start the process anew. If either of you or either of your witnesses lose sight of each other during the signing process, then tear up the Wills and print out another copy of the Wills and start the Will signing process again.
- You sign your Wills on each and every page where marked. Ensure that you date the Wills with the date at which the Wills are signed and witnessed.
- You then ask your witnesses to step away from the glass as far as possible, but without losing sight of you and of each other. You then open the glass and leave the signed Wills on the floor. You then shut the glass.
- Both witnesses move back to the closed glass, pick up the Wills and (WITH THE SIMILAR BLUE PEN) sign each page of the Wills. If you signed with different coloured pens (e.g. a dark blue and a light blue) then tear up the Wills. Print out new Wills and start the process again.
- If you or your witnesses need reading glasses, then don’t sign your Will until you put on those glasses.
If you need help then you can telephone our Estate Planning 24/7 hotline and speak to a lawyer who will help you. Obviously, this service is only available if you built your 3-Generation Testamentary Trust Wills on our website.
I have no windows or glass – ‘corridor signing’
If you have no glass doors or windows, then you can still sign your Wills. But you need a corridor. Your two witnesses are on one end of the corridor. You are on the other end of the corridor. You just need to ensure you do not lose visual sight of each other at any time.
Our Wills are drafted to allow both ‘window signing’ and ‘corridor signing’
Wills prepared on Legal Consolidated’s website – both simple and 3-Generation – are drafted so that they can be signed through glass or via a corridor. If Legal Consolidated did not prepare your Will then speak to the lawyer that prepared your Will.
I am an Adjunct Professor lecturing both the Estate Planning and Superannuation units at a number of universities. I have done so since 1999.
I have 7 degrees, 4 of them are in law including my doctorate. My research was on Estate Planning and succession planning. Estate Planning is my passion, especially given the opportunity to reduce the four defacto death duties: income tax, Capital Gains Tax, transfer duty and the 32% death tax on your superannuation.
I author both of Australia’s leading Estate Planning books: CCH Australian Estate Planning and Thompson Reuters Australian Financial Planning Handbook.
You can build your Estate Planning documents online:
Start building the Estate Planning documents, read the hints, watch the training videos. If you need a hand answering any of the questions please ring me or any of my lawyers.
The 3-Generation Testamentary Trusts include:
- 3-Generation Testamentary Trusts – reduces CGT, income tax & stamp duty
- Superannuation Testamentary Trust – reduces the 17% or 32% tax on Super going to adult children
- Bankruptcy Trusts – if a beneficiary is bankrupt
- Divorce Protection Trust – if a child separates, stops the Family Court from getting your money
- Maintenance Trust – where beneficiaries under 18 years of age or unstable
The Estate Planning bundle includes 1. 3-Generation Testamentary Trust Wills 2. Power of Attorneys and 3. Medical POAs.
ADDITIONAL ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS:
After you have built the bundle, you may also wish to consider:
1. Contractual Wills Agreements – for 2nd marriages
Plus when you have a Family Trust:
Plus when you have a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund
There are two training courses (which are currently free) you can complete online: