On May 16, Govenor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2556. The bill allows an individual to create an electronic Will (“E-Will”). The law does not take effect until June 30, 2019. However, there are a number of issues that must be addressed before anyone should attempt to create an electronic will. First and foremost, there are a lot of rules that make signing an electronic Will even more complicated than a regular one. The new law lets the creator of the Will (usually referred to as the Testator), the witnesses, and the notary to sign the E-Will with electronic signatures. However, they all need to be at the same geographic location, which does not really simplify things when compared to making an “old school” paper will.
After the E-Will is executed, the E-Will also must be maintained electronically by a “qualified custodian.” A qualified custodian must (1) not be related to the maker of the Will by blood, marriage, or adoption; (2) may not be a recipient under the Will or related to a recipient under the Will; and, (3) have the ability to store electronic records in a system that protects the document from destruction, alteration, or unauthorized access and that can detect any changes. The custodian must also retain a photograph of the Testator and witnesses on the date of execution, copies of their identifying documents (presumably their driver’s licenses or passports), and a video recording of the signing.
I don’t know about other individuals, but for me it seems simpler to properly execute a Will printed on paper and placed it in a safe.
Laura M. Trujillo
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Legal advice is provided only through a formal, written attorney/client agreement.