Attestation – to attest to something means that you testify (i.e. swear that something exists or is the case) or bear witness to the signing of a document. By attesting to something you are confirming its validity and authenticity and in the context of witnessing documents a witness ensures that the document has been executed properly and the identity of the purported author is correct.
In Australia, one of the best examples of attestation occurs when a person, usually a qualified legal practitioner or Justice of the Peace (see section 148 of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW)), bears witness to someone’s signature when, for example, a will or deed is executed.
For example, section 6(1)(c) of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) states that for a will to be valid at least two witnesses need to attest to the signature of the testator (the person making the will). Further under the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) every deed, whether or not it affects the property, must be signed as well as sealed and shall be attested by one witness who is not a party to the deed.