Modernising the Law in the Digital Age through Electronic Signing & Remote Witnessing
Through its recent reforms, Victoria has paved the way for the effective delivery of critical services and increased access to justice by introducing permanent changes to the way documents are signed.
During this pandemic, RNG Lawyers has become well-versed in the recent law reforms and legislative changes and will ensure that your documents meet all the required formalities of being validly executed documents.
The Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters) Act 2021 has been passed allowing certain crucial documents to be electronically signed and remotely witnessed via audio-visual link in accordance with specifically prescribed guidelines for each type of document as of 26 April 2021.
These new measures have helped Victorians navigate their legal needs smoothly especially during the 'new covid normal' and has saved clients and their solicitors significant costs and time.
This Act comes into force just in time and permanently replaces the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (Omnibus Act) which was repealed on 26 April 2021.
Under the new framework, the following requirements must be complied with to ensure the various documents are executed validly:
The permanent changes have been reflected in the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018. The remote execution process must be carried out on the same day.
The permanent changes have been reflected in the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018
The permanent changes have been reflected in the Wills Act 1997. The remote execution process must be carried out on the same day and must involve a special witness (legal practitioner or a justice of peace) and an ordinary witness (individual above 18 years old and not related to Will-maker).
Enduring Powers of Attorney
The permanent changes have been reflected in the Powers of Attorney Act 2014. The remote execution process must be carried out on the same day and must involve a special witness (legal practitioner or a justice of peace) and an ordinary witness (individual above 18 years old and not related to Principal).
The permanent changes have been reflected in the Electronic Transactions (Victoria) Act 2000
The following documents cannot be signed electronically:
Medical Treatment Decision Maker
Advanced Care Directives
Arrangements in relation to voluntary assisted dying
Any document approved under section 121 of the Transfer of Land Act 1958 that is to be submitted for lodgement with the Registrar of Titles
Putting into Practice...
Despite the introduction of these permanent remote signing and witnessing guidelines, caution must be exercised due to the complex procedure involved.
If any of the requirements are not fulfilled, the document could be deemed invalid leading to dire consequences.
We therefore highly recommend in-person execution where possible and utilising remote signing only as a final recourse.
Should you need assistance with electronic witnessing of Wills, enduring powers of attorney, deeds and other documents, please contact the RNG Lawyers Wills and Estates team on (03) 9739 7377 for further information.