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Wills formalities beyond COVID-19: an Australian-United States perspective

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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of valid will making. Executing a valid will can be difficult during a pandemic in the event of the public health response, incorporating social distancing and lockdowns. Compliance with traditional presence requirements for signing and witnessing wills has, in some jurisdictions, become impossible. Consequently, many states in both Australia and the United States have implemented emergency measures to facilitate valid will-making during the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of remote, real-time virtual platforms. Looking forward, should these temporary measures which permit the remote witnessing of wills, become permanent and how large a role should technology play?

Dr Kelly Purser, Tina Cockburn and Dr Bridget J. Crawford have recently published an article exploring will-making both during and post-pandemic, including discussion of the “new normal”.

You can read the article in the UNSW Law Journal.

About Kelly Purser

Dr Kelly PurserDr Kelly Purser is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law. Her research focuses on the challenges presented by capacity assessment and the ageing population. Kelly is a program co-leader of the Planning for Healthy Ageing Research Group, a formal program of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research.

You can learn more about Kelly and her research and publications in her staff profile.

About Tina Cockburn

Tina Cockburn is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR), and co-program leader of the Planning for Healthy Ageing Research Group. Tina is also a sessional member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and a member of the Queensland Law Society Health and Disability Law Committee.

You can learn more about Tina and her research and publications in her staff profile.

About Bridget J. Crawford

Bridget CrawfordDr Bridget J. Crawford is a Professor of Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in New York, USA. Bridget’s research interests include the intersections of gender and law, especially in areas of taxation and wealth transfers.

Bridget is a member of the American Law Institute and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is an international collaborator in the Planning for Healthy Ageing Research Group.

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