Deeds to be signed electronically in Queensland temporarily

Deeds to be signed electronically in Queensland temporarily

25 May 2020 Authored by: Steven Jell   |   Topics: Estate planning, Family business, Superannuation, Tax and revenue, Trusts, COVID-19

Changes were made to the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response-Wills and Enduring Documents) Amendment Regulation 2020 (Qld) last week to extend the operation of that regulation to the signing of deeds.

These changes will apply to deeds signed in Queensland before 31 December 2020.

How do they work?

These changes:

  • remove the requirement for a deed to be made on paper
  • allow a deed to made in the form of an electronic document
  • remove the requirement for a deed to be sealed or stated to be sealed
  • remove the requirement for a corporation to use a seal or common seal to sign a deed
  • remove the requirement for a deed signed by an individual to be witnessed
  • provide that a corporation may sign the deed in a way consistent with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), that is, it may be signed by:
    • two directors of the corporation
    • one director and one secretary of the corporation
    • for a corporation that has only one director who is also the secretary of the corporation – that director
    • a duly authorised agent of the corporation (click here for more detail)
  • allow a deed to be signed by or for an individual or a corporation by the signing of counterparts or true copies – those counterparts need to contain the same content but do not need to contain the signatures of any other person signing the document.

To comply with the regulation, the deed must include a clear statement that the instrument is a deed and must be ‘delivered’ to the other parties.

Watch out

These changes to the signing of deeds in Queensland are similar to the changes made in other states. While these changes will help with individuals maintaining physical distancing in the current COVID-19 environment, they have not been tested and could cause issues later if not followed precisely. Where possible, deeds should continue to be signed by ordinary means with wet ink and remote witnessing methods used as a last resort only.

If you would like any further advice on how to witness deeds or other documents in the current environment, please contact a member of our team.

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This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.