Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Financial Advisers to become qualified witnesses - Young Guns (do not necessarily) go for it **

Very positive to see the announcement that financial advisers will be granted the status to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration.  

A step that sees advisers become the ''equal'' of medical practitioners, justices of the peace and lawyers.  

And arguably a long overdue iteration to provide an easy and far more cost effective way for customers to have documents witnessed. And yet it must be asked, when will all states follow this lead?  

Particularly in the (state regulated) estate planning space, one of the single biggest roadblocks we see is the witnessing of attorney documents. Particularly in Victoria, New South Wales and (to a lesser extent) Queensland the existing witnessing requirements appear to remain unchanged.  

Thus, especially in NSW, you essentially need a lawyer to do the witnessing (kudos to the NSW lawyers union for achieving this position).  

In other words, simply because a person (ie a financial adviser) is eligible to witness statutory declarations is not sufficient to make them qualified for the purpose of witnessing attorney documents.  

** For the trainspotters, an oldie and a goodie, Wham's 'Young Guns' is the inspiration for the title to the post today.