COVID19 – Extension of electronic witnessing and signing regulations

In previous articles1,  we have discussed the implementation of NSW and Commonwealth regulations on the execution of documents during COVID-19 including how to sign and witness documents by audiovisual link. Remote execution of documents has meant that the effects of COVID-19 on finalising or instigating estate planning have been mitigated.

 

Electronic witnessing


  • Electronic witnessing by audio visual link in NSW has been extended until 31 December 2021.
  • The provisions for electronic witnessing of certain documents by audiovisual link came into effect on 22 April 2020 and are included in Part 2B of the Electronic Transactions Act 2000.
  • The provisions apply to a range of documents governed by NSW legislation, including wills, powers of attorney, enduring guardianship appointments, deeds, agreements, affidavits and statutory declarations. The Law Society has issued updated FAQs and a more detailed guidance paper here.

Electronic signing under s 127 Corporations Act


  • Provisions under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) have also been amended to allow for electronic signing of agreements or deeds by company officers. The modified operation of s127 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) has been extended until 21 March 2021.
  • These provisions are in the Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No 3) 2020 (Cth), which repealed the earlier Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No. 1) 2020 and was in effect from 6 May 2020.
The effects of COVID-19 are not an obstacle to completing or instigating estate planning, estate administration and other private wealth legal services. We can assist you with progressing these matters through these unprecedented times.

We are here if you would like to discuss your estate planning options and any other concerns, so please feel free to contact one of the solicitors in our Private Clients group. Alternatively, you can email Terry McCabe, the Principal of the group, directly at terry.mccabe@mccabecurwood.com.au.  


1 COVID-19: New regulations allow legal documents to be signed and witnessed electronicallySigning documents on behalf of your company during COVID-19

Contributors

Guy Desmidt Law Clerk