Matthew S. Payne is a Chicago-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Electric wills and remote witnessing

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Estate Planning

The Uniform Electronic Wills Act allows people to execute an electronic will, so people can record wills in electronic form instead of traditional printing. The new laws allow probate courts to give e-wills legal effects in Chicago, Illinois.

Electronic wills

Illinois adopted the laws but made changes like other states have. The Illinois Electronic Wills Act provides a solid electronic option and remote witnessing.

Electronic wills allow people to execute them in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction. Two or more credible witnesses can attest electronic wills in the testator’s presence. The probate process can be completely electronic now, and an electronic will is treated as a digital asset. Anyone in possession of the electric will is a custodian for safeguarding purposes.

Remote witnessing

Remote witnessing allows for audio-visual communication between the witnesses and the person signing the documents. Illinois allows remote witnessing for any documents, not just wills. The verification of an electronic will is immediate when the petitioner files with the probate court. As courts become more comfortable with electronic wills, the probate process may go faster.

Senate bills

Senate Bill 2176 creates the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which replaces the original Electronic Transactions Act. Senate Bill 2664 expands on remote notarization with the Notary Public Act. The bill allows public electronic notarization and notaries. The details of Senate Bill 2664 talk about specific situations of electronic notarization and remote notarization.

The electronic wills and remote witnessing laws go into effect on July 1, 2022. The Secretary of State could adopt them early. The official in charge of notary public certifications is rereading the changes because proper rules need to be in place to certify and authorize electronic notaries.