A witness no longer needs to be in the presence of the person signing. The Attorney General announced temporary changes to the law during the COVID-19 Pandemic so that documents may be witnessed by audiovisual link. The documents that can be witnessed remotely include:
- Powers of attorney.
- Deeds and Agreements.
- Enduring guardianships.
- Statutory declarations.
A strict process must be followed, with the signature being witnessed by audiovisual link and the witness must be satisfied that the document that the witness signs is the same document or a copy of the document as signed by the signatory.
The witness will need to:
- Have a constant audiovisual link with the person signing.
- See the face of the signatory.
- Certify matters required for the signing of the particular document. For example, if the document being signed is a will the witness must be satisfied as to mental capacity, that there is no duress, and that the signatory understands what they are signing.
- Confirm or verify the identity of the signatory, including obtaining copies of identification documents.
- Attest the signature.
- Swear or affirm the contents if it is an affidavit.
The witness will then sign a copy of the document and complete an attestation or confirmation on the copy. The witness will need to endorse the document with certain wording to satisfy the requirements of the regulation.
These changes will allow for documents to be signed to assist in day to day personal and business affairs which would otherwise be interrupted by COVID-19 isolation.
We can assist you in preparing, advising and witnessing documents as required including by audiovisual links such as FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and Zoom. If you would like assistance please contact us on 9521 6000.