Lawyer calls for unified e-signature laws
Implementing a standard piece of legislation for e-signatures across Australia in place of the different state laws could help prevent issues where an SMSF trust deed is incorrectly executed using an e-signature in certain states, says an industry lawyer.
Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers owner Peter Townsend says some businesses claim an SMSF deed can be executed using an e-signature, but this isn’t correct in some states.
Mr Townsend said the issue is that e-signature law is state based and, therefore, differs from state to state.
“In NSW, you can’t execute a deed using an e-signature and you can’t witness a document using an e-signature,” he said.
“So to the extent that there are some people who are setting up funds based on advice that they can just do so with an e-signature in NSW, their fund has actually never been set up and that could have drastic consequences in the future.”
Mr Townsend said it would help the industry if the states came together to “form a common protocol with e-signatures or some sort of standard legislation across the country that makes it the same for everybody”.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.