Pakistan, Probate & Preventing Crime

PM launches online inheritance system

One argument that is often thrown up against digitisation is criminal activity, especially when it comes to legal process. The attached article reports on Pakistan’s response to that concern, in the probate process.

When Covid infiltrated our lives and upended everyday work processes, practices and procedures, we all quickly learned just how much we could do online. Starkly however, one area in Australia that was legally prohibited from being undertaken digitally, was the execution of wills and powers of attorney. Our laws required people to sign and have them witnessed in person, for them to be legally valid. This legal requirement was promulgated on the basis that it prevented fraud and undue influence. The requirement, however, exposed many clients and their advisors to great personal health risks, and corresponding legal and financial risks as many people chose not to have the documents at a time they needed them most – when health issues hit. We are yet to see the flow on effect of that.

While some states and territories slowly worked towards making laws enabling audio visual execution and witnessing, it was uncoordinated, highly restrictive, and remains so. By stark contrast, our probate processes however, have been operating in an online environment for some time. While some states are further advanced than others, and certainly in Queensland improvements can be made to better digitise the process, we have been making progress.

Interestingly  other countries are also making significant advances into digitising probate procedures. The attached article reports on Pakistan’s move to entirely digitise the probate process.

By digitising the system, they say they can improve processes that could take up to 7 years and cut that down to 15 days. Interestingly, the argument for such a system seems to be founded in reducing illegality. By reducing delays, they say they remove incentives for bribery and illegal occupation of property.

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