COVID-19 – New Regulations to enable witnessing of legal documents

The Victorian Government has enacted regulations to overcome the problems encountered in signing legal documents during the Coronavirus.

Prior to the regulations formal requirements for executing Wills and Powers of Attorney required the client, and attesting witnesses, to be present physically during the execution of such documents.

The emergency regulations now enable documents to be signed electronically and witnessed by audio visual means.

It means that witnesses do not have to be in the physical presence of the person signing, they can for example sign by video means.

It also allows a person to sign using an electronic signature.

It will still be critical for lawyers advising clients to ensure that documents are properly executed and that the documents reflect the clients wishes.

Whilst social distancing requirements remain and are important to follow Nevetts Lawyers will, where necessary, attend upon clients to have Wills and Powers of Attorney executed physically by making appropriate arrangements either within our office or at clients premises to ensure the safety of all persons present.

Where physical presence needs to be avoided the use of the electronic means of signing and witnessing will be utilised.

For further advice or assistance contact our Wills Estates and Probates group for further advice.

Author: Peter Wilson