Green light for wills, POA documents to be executed electronically in Victoria
Wills and power of attorney documents are now permitted to be executed electronically in Victoria, after the state government made temporary changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic permanent.
As reported by Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand, The Adviser, the Victorian government has passed legislation that will allow mortgage documents, deeds, wills and powers of attorney to be executed electronically.
The passage of the laws has made permanent temporary changes that were introduced during the COVID-19 crisis, which allowed for documents to be signed electronically and remotely to adhere to social distancing restrictions introduced by the federal government.
Last week, the Victorian government passed the Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters) Bill 2021.
The bill provides for electronic signing and remote witnessing of legal documents in Victoria by amending the Electronic Transactions (Victoria) Act 2000.
Commenting on the legislation, DocuSign vice-president and deputy general counsel Doug Luftman said: “COVID-19 has highlighted the essential need to be able to sign important documents electronically from nearly anywhere, at any time. DocuSign congratulates the Victorian Government for modernising their laws for the digital age by allowing deeds, wills, power of attorney and mortgage documents to be executed electronically.”
Mr Luftman noted this is an important step in the government’s digital transformation journey, with the changes set to enable businesses, consumers, and lawyers to save significant costs and time in the preparation and signing of documents, particularly in rural and regional areas.
“As we have seen with important interim digital measures over the last year, businesses and their employees have been able to sign electronic documents in minutes, rather than days, while saving on costs such as paper, printing and storing documents. Such considerable paper reduction also has positive environmental impact,” he said.
“We encourage other state and territory governments to follow Victoria’s lead and reform their electronic signature laws so that we can have a single national process that ensures accessibility, ease and secure transacting for all Australians.”