Blog

COVID-19 update: Video witnessing and certifying legal in ACT

Julia Bridgewater

18 May 2020

Topics

  • COVID-19
  • Wills & Estates

In the ACT Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Legislation, legal documents can now be witnessed by video. In this article Julia Bridgewater outline which documents apply and how it works.

This change is effective from 14 May 2020 and valid until the end of a 3-month period in which there has been no COVID-19 public health emergency declaration made by the ACT Government.

Which documents apply?

  1. Where the signature on any document has to be witnessed by operation of ACT laws, such as:
    1. affidavit
    2. will
    3. enduring power of attorney
    4. health direction.
  2. Where a matter has to be certified by operation of ACT laws, such as certified copies of original documents.

How can it work?

The witness must, via audiovisual link:

  • see the person sign the original document in real time; and
  • confirm the document was signed by:
    • signing the original of the document at a later time; or
    • signing a copy of the document.

The witness must also satisfy themselves that the document signed by the witness is the same as, or a copy of, the document they saw the person sign by video.

The witness has to endorse the document or copy with a statement about how the document was witnessed.

How can we help?

For assistance with any legal issues, particularly as we all adjust to changes introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact our Wills & Estates team, or other relevant team, on 02 6285 8000 or by email.