Updated Arrangements for Execution of Documents during COVID-19

Further to last month’s alert on the execution of documents, yesterday a new regulation came into effect which facilitates execution of a wider variety of documents electronically.

Previously, where documents required certain witnessing provisions to be complied with, face to face execution of the documents was still necessary. The Electronic Transactions Regulation (“the Regulation”) has now been updated to allow witnessing and attestation of certain documents via video conferencing.

Any document which requires witnessing can now be witnessed under the Regulation, including the following:

  1. a will;
  2. a power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney;
  3. a deed or agreement;
  4. an enduring guardianship appointment;
  5. an affidavit, including an annexure or exhibit to the affidavit; and
  6. a statutory declaration.

Generally speaking, other documents which do not require witnessing, could already be executed pursuant to the Electronic Transactions Act.

There is a specific process for execution provided for in the Regulation and this process needs to be followed in order for the documents to be properly executed. Osborn Law can assist you with executing documents in accordance with the new Regulation.

The Regulation also specifically allows for verifications of identity to occur via video conferencing.

There was an obvious need for the Regulation to be made in the current climate of social distancing. These changes will assist greatly in the realms of estate planning and litigation.

Pursuant to the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act, the Regulation will automatically expire in 6 months unless Parliament resolve to have them expire earlier.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information above or would like to discuss anything further please don’t hesitate to contact our team on (02) 4927 2900.

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