Signing Formal Documents Remotely – New Rules

The COVID-19 Public Health Orders have seen many people, not just solicitors and Justices of the Peace working remotely.  Signing formal documents just got easier because now you can use electronic copies, provided you follow new rules.

In response to remote working, the NSW Government has implemented the Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 (NSW) which was effective from 22 April 2020 and is expected to end on 22 October 2020. The Regulation can be accessed here: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2020-169

The Regulation permits the use of audio-visual technology (such as Skye and Zoom) to witness and attest documents that are administered in New South Wales. Such documents include:

  • Contracts and Deed;
  • Wills;
  • Powers of Attorneys (including Enduring Power of Attorneys);
  • Appointments of Enduring Guardianship;
  • Affidavits (including annexures or exhibits); and
  • Statutory Declarations.

Although the Regulation allows for the person witnessing the document to not be physically present, various stringent formal requirements still need to be complied with for the document to be valid.

For more information about the requirements, contact Solicitor and Notary Public, Peter McNamara.

Source: Written by Peter McNamara, Partner at Clark McNamara Lawyers, Sydney, July 2020

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