On 8 April, the emergency bill was presented which, among other things, provides for the option that notarial deeds, such as a will, can temporarily be executed electronically, by way of two-sided audio visual means.
This is possible when the parties to a deed cannot appear in person before the civil-law notary and a private power of attorney does not suffice. A physical appointment at the office must be impossible because of the current restrictive coronavirus measures, for instance home isolation or a stay in an institution where visits are not possible. When contact with the civil-law notary is indeed possible, the aforementioned option will not apply. It goes without saying that all the other requirements for the drawing up of a notarial deed must also be met.
The bill is part of a package of measures designed to provide support in situations where physical consultation and decision-making procedures are currently still required. This also includes, for example, annual general meetings of (listed) companies, associations and other legal entities.
The reason for the bill was the report by the Association of Estate Planners in the Notarial Practice (EPN) that there was no legal basis for a ʽSkype testament'. Until now, the law stipulated that a person who makes a will must be physically present when their will is executed before the civil-law notary. Appearing on a screen, for example through Skype, was not covered by this. If the civil-law notary were to cooperate, the validity of the will executed in this way could be questioned afterwards.
In the end, the EPN's appeal to the legislator resulted in this bill. We hope that this will provide more clarity and that this will be a useful option for the notarial practice.
Want to know more?
Should you have any questions about the Skype testament or other related issues, please contact Frans Sonneveldt by e-mail or by telephone +31 (0)88 277 10 03 or Bianca de Kroon by e-mail or by telephone +31 (0)88 277 10 10. They will be happy to help.