Writing your will with pen and paper might sound old-fashioned, but not when it involves the particular signing of the document itself. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to limit in-person contact, Washington joins a growing number of states that allow e-wills. Washington just became the seventh state to permit its citizens to execute electronic wills. Read more about how they work, who they’re best for, and more.
On April 26, 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5132, which, among several other changes to Washington’s laws governing trusts and estates, includes the Uniform Electronic Wills Act. Approved on January 1, 2022, Washingtonians can execute electronic wills.
What is Electronic Will?
According to the past Washington state law, a legitimate will needs to be a physical document, signed by the person making the will and witnessed by two competent individuals, in the presence of a notary. All of the individuals involved in the signing must be physically present within the same location, at the same time.
Electronic Wills are documents that allow you to appoint someone to handle your digital assets and direct their distribution consistent with your wishes.
How does Electronic Will work?
An Electronic Will MUST be:
- A record that’s readable as text at the time of signing;
- Signed by the testator/testatrix or another individual in the testator’s name, within the testator’s physical presence, and by the testator’s direction; and
- Signed by a minimum of two competent witnesses at the testator’s direction or request and within the physical or electronic presence of the
With the new law and EWA, wills are often signed online like via DocuSign, with the caveat that when being witnessed, everyone is present online and in presence together, such as via a Zoom call, and an official will prepare an online copy, such as a PDF, so long as it is retrievable.
One Final Thought
This law remains versatile because it is expanding its method to serve you better. Electronic Wills helps people that are away from an estate planning attorney, have trouble travelling, and are crucially ill to go to an attorney. Because of the present global pandemic, it helps clients and attorneys work together for Electronic Wills.
What do you think about Electronic Wills?
If you need help to discuss Estate Planning, The Cowlitz Law Group is glad to help you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org