When Mortgage Documents Need To Be Signed And Witnessed

Posted on May 2, 2007 by | 0 Comments

Tim O'Dwyer M.B., LL.Bby Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B Queensland Solicitor & Consumer Advocate watchdog@argonautlegal.com.au

“I want a witness,” sang the Rolling Stones on their first album over 40 years ago.

It can still be tricky finding a witness when you need one. Justices of the Peace, Commissioners for Declarations and the like seem to vanish whenever they are needed in a hurry. This perennial problem was faced (and solved simply) a while back by a couple of ex-pats based in Singapore. After bank mortgage documents for an Australian property purchase went astray, a second set was despatched and arrived on a Friday. Trouble was the documents had to be executed (not a word one uses lightly in Singapore) in the presence of a qualified witness. The most suitable qualified witness, the couple were advised, would be an Australian Consular officer, a Notary Public or an Australian lawyer. Easier said than done. So the ex-pats promptly did a deal with Singapore airlines, phoned family here to make after hours arrangements and duly turned up at my home on the Sunday morning with a doorstop of documents – and a large bunch of flowers for Mrs. O’Dwyer.

Because I was not only the family’s solicitor but also a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, everything was soon signed, sealed and witnessed in all the right places. Mrs Ex-pat flew back to Singapore that afternoon while Mr Ex-pat stayed to make sure the documents were delivered safely back to the bank.

The Rolling Stones must have got some satisfaction too, because another song on their album was: “Now I’ve got a witness.”

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