Electronic Witnessing: Finalise Your Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian by Video Conference

Electronic Witnessing: Finalise Your Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian by Video Conference

In April 2020, we saw groundbreaking changes that allow for a range of documents to be signed and witnessed by audio-visual links (Zoom/Teams and the like). This saw many in the legal profession and general populous alike, questioning the perks and pitfalls of the application of ‘Zoom’ signing. Early this year, the rules converted back to traditional signing – the ol’ wet pen and ink.

Across Sydney, we may be separated physically as we step into a further week of lockdown. However, our legal system has provided peace of mind for many of our clients as we move into the arena of electronic witnessing of documents once again. As we brace ourselves with Covid numbers in the 100s, the law has acted fast to allow us back online to finalising these ever-important documents.

So, which documents can I sign by audio-visual link?

Part 2B of The Electronic Transaction Act 2000 No 8 allows for the following documentation to be signed by audio-visual link:

  1. a will,
  2. a power of attorney or 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,
  6. a statutory declaration.

The above list of documents is non-exhaustive.

Is it easy to sign documents this way?

Have you or someone in your household got a relatively modern phone or a computer/laptop with a webcam? Then our Estate Planning Team can arrange for your estate planning to be completed ‘virtually virtual’! From your first appointment to your signing appointment, we are now able to neatly deliver your estate planning while you are in your best lockdown attire.

Despite the comfortability of being in your warm home while meeting with me or a member of our team, we must ensure some key ingredients are considered. As ever, we must ensure client capacity (see my previous blog Capacity & Estate Planning), client safety and of course, client care. As the world quickly moves to the use of technology in more aspects of our lives, your Estate Planning Team ensures that meeting with you in person is the same as we meet you by video! Of paramountcy, we take care to ensure that you (the client) are the only person in the room for the instructions giving and signing of your estate planning documents.

We must ensure that we observe the client signing the documents in real-time, confirm that the signature was witnessed and that the physical document which we receive back is the same as we witnessed on video. We must endorse the document with a statement of the method which was utilised to witness this signing and confirmation that it was in accordance with the above-mentioned legislation.

A Concluding Thought

Education is key and with this update, I hope that you may turn your mind to finalising the signing of your estate planning documents or perhaps meeting with us to take the first steps to protect your assets. Would you like to learn more about some of our frequently asked questions? Check out our Coutts Lawcast for “Estate Planning Debunked!”.

The important thing to note is that your Estate Planning is important to us, as ever it should be for you. Call our office or send us an email to book an appointment to discuss your estate planning today! We are available to have telephone appointments as usual. However, with the implementation of video conferencing, we continue to maintain our face-to-face appointments, albeit through the computer screen.


ABOUT CHARLOTTE O’CONNOR:

Charlotte O'Connor

Charlotte is passionate about all things Wills & Estate Planning. She believes that having your estate planning in order creates peace of mind. This peace of mind drives Charlotte as she feels a sense of pride in affording people the power to have their wishes met.

Charlotte’s warmth and friendly nature enable her clients to feel at ease – particularly in the ‘new age’ of legal services where her openness is able to transcend video conferencing and telephone appointments.


For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Charlotte O’Connor
Lawyer
charlotte@couttslegal.com.au
1300 268 887

Contact our Campbelltown Lawyers today.

This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.