The execution of important legal documents like wills, powers of attorney, deeds, affidavits, and statutory declarations can now be witnessed via video conferencing technology under a new regulation made by the Governor of NSW on 22 April 2020.
In the current climate, where we are trying to minimise contact with others to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 the new, Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020, will help to reduce face-to-face contact and allow those more vulnerable members of our community the opportunity to complete important legal documents without having to put themselves at risk by leaving their homes.
Under the new regulation if a signature of a document is required to be witnessed, that signature may be witnessed by audio visual link utilising applications such as Zoom, Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp. The witness must observe the person signing the document in real time, and then confirm they witnessed the signature by signing the document or a copy of the document which can include a counterpart or scanned version of the signed document.
For those who would still prefer to sign in person, the witnessing of documents by traditional methods remain valid.