ESTATE PLANNING NEWS & ARTICLES
Online Wills in AZ: More Trouble than it’s Worth?
In 2019, Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law House Bill 2656, which gives us here in Arizona the ability to create online wills. On the one hand, it was theoretically perfect timing for the COVID crisis, but on the other, the demands of the law seem to make electronic wills more complicated than regular ones. Here are some main points:
- Your will must digitally signed by two witnesses (and most likely) a notary. The notary is actually optional but the two witnesses need to be physically present when you electronically sign OR to affirm that you have signed your documents. This leads to all kinds of requirements if you decide to utilize the notary (which is suggested especially if you are concerned that a family member or other beneficiary may contest it).
- Your digitally signed will is required to be monitored by a qualified custodian continuously. Who or what is a qualified custodian? Well, he/she/it cannot be related to you, be inheriting from you or be related to someone inheriting from you. The storage system must inherently protect your documents completely so they cannot be altered or destroyed or even accessed by anyone without your permission. Therefore, the idea that it will exist on your home computer, for example, is not within the current law.
- There are some serious standards of proof required. Your photograph as the will “maker“ and your two witnesses must be present on the date of the main signing along with copies of everyone’s IDs, such as a driver’s license or passport. Another reason you’ll all need to be together really at some point is the fact that a video of the event is also required.
This is not the end of the bill’s requirements, but these points seem to paint enough of a picture to show how staying with the regular task of signing a will in person and in print seems to be a much easier hurdle for the time being. Feel free to call us for a consultation if you’d like to learn more.