More and more transactions are done digitally, but estate planning has lagged behind technology. That may be changing, though. Even before the coronavirus pandemic made social distancing necessary, electronic wills were gaining legitimacy.
An electronic will (or “e-will”) is a will that is created completely electronically, without paper and ink, including using digital signatures. The Uniform Law Commission — an organization that provides states with model legislation they can adopt — recently approved the Electronic Wills Act, which provides a framework for a valid electronic will. Under the Act, states determine how many witnesses are required or if a notary is required. Each state can decide whether the witnesses and notary must be physically present or if remote or virtual presence is permitted. The will has to be in text form, meaning that video and audio wills are not allowed. Once the will is signed, witnessed, and notarized (if required), the will is complete.