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Can I witness legal documents electronically?

May 07, 2020

From 22 April 2020, temporary changes allow the use of video conferencing technology such as Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom as a means to witnessing important legal documents like wills, powers of attorney, statutory declarations and contracts. This will help reduce face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new regulation, a witness must see a person signing the document in real time to confirm the signature is legitimate, but can do so using video conferencing technology.

The witness will sign the document, or a copy of the document, to confirm they witnessed the signature. This could be done on a hard copy that is scanned and sent to the witness or on an identical copy of the document that was signed.

These changes will make it easier for people to avoid physical interactions that are not essential, while still completing important transactions.

To assist with who can be a witness during this period of time, the categories of people who are authorised to witness documents has been expanded.

Traditional methods of signing and witnessing these documents remain valid while the regulation is in force.

If you would like more information on this topic please contact your Workplace Advisor on 1300 650 620