Well after looking for this legislation literally every day for weeks I had given up. Today I was excited to see over on Tara Lucke's Facebook group The Art of Estate Planning that it had finally become a reality today, and it looks like NSW is first cab (state) off the rank. The legislation is not long, it is only four pages, you could read it here.
Why is this exciting? Well honestly it has been a long time coming, and it is unfortunate that it took a pandemic for it to get some attention. However for now it means that solicitors can continue to do what they have been doing, but remotely (online), and this legislation ensures that we can do the following by video conferencing:
witness a will
witness an enduring power of attorney
witness an appointment of enduring guardian
witness/swear an Affidavit
witness/swear a statutory declaration
sign a copy of a document (a counterpart) as evidence of this
There have always been problems with swearing or witnessing documents, problems like older or disabled people struggling to leave their homes in order to visit their solicitors multiple times. While the solicitor needs to be aware of issues like undue influence and duress, any experienced solicitor knows that a person can feel threatened without their abuser being in the room with them.
The advantage of signing using video conferencing is that you can record the whole thing, including any questions you ask or any questions they ask prior to signing the document. If you would like to receive future legal updates from us, you can sign up for our legal updates mailing list here.