“Dial In to See Me Sign!” Signing Documents by AV-Link

  • COVID-19
  • Published 01.05.2020

As a result of amendments introduced by the Electronic Transactions Amendment (Covid-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 (NSW) (Regulation), execution of documents by witnesses in NSW is permitted to be conducted by audio-visual link.

The Regulation commenced on 22 April 2020 and will expire on 22 October 2020 unless the NSW Parliament determines otherwise.

Documents to which the Regulation Applies

  • Wills
  • Powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney
  • Deeds
  • Agreements
  • Enduring guardianship appointments
  • Affidavits including any annexures or exhibits
  • Statutory declarations

Technology Required 

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime are examples of real-time AV technology that can be utilised.

Witnesses Take Note

The key things to note:

  • You must see the face and the signing hand of the person signing the document during the AV-conference.
  • You can sign a counter-part of the document or a copy of the signed document. It is suggested that for affidavits you sign a scanned copy of the affidavit signed by the deponent so that there is one copy of the affidavit bearing two signatures.
  • You must sign the document during or as soon as practicable after the AV-conference. 
  • Before you sign, satisfy yourself that the document is the same as what you witnessed being signed.
  • You must endorse the document that you sign with a statement that identifies the method used to witness the signature and that it has been signed in accordance with the Regulation. 

An example statement is as follows:

 This document was signed in counter-part and witnessed over audio-visual link in accordance with clause 2 of schedule 1 to the Electronic Transactions Regulation 2017.

  • Standard checks and practices to prevent fraud, assess capacity and undue influence still apply.

Retain the Signed Documents

You will end up with two counter-parts of the signed document: one bearing a wet signature of the signatory and the other bearing the wet signature of the witness. 

Ensure that these documents are kept together so that if proper execution is ever put in issue, you can produce both original signed counter-parts of the document.

Fiona Reynolds

Partner

P: 02 8257 5751

Email Fiona