In 2018, Arizona became one of the first states to allow for the creation of electronic wills. To learn more about electronic wills, contact estate planning attorney Nicole Pavlik.
What is an Electronic Will?
An electronic will (e-will) is a will that is created and maintained in an electronic record. Instead of printing and executing a hard copy of the will, the e-will is made and stored digitally.
What are the Legal Requirements for an E-Will in Arizona?
Arizona law sets forth specific requirements for electronic wills. First, the e-will must signed electronically by both the testator and two witnesses. The witness must be physically present with the testator when the testator electronically signs the will.
After the e-will is executed, it must be electronically stored in the custody of a “qualified custodian.” A qualified custodian must meet the following requirements:
- They cannot be related to the testator of the will by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- They cannot be a recipient under the will or related to a recipient under the will; and
- They must be able to store electronic records in a system that protects the document from destruction, alteration, or unauthorized access and can detect any changes.
Together with the electronic will, the qualified custodian must store the following three things:
- A photo or other visual record of the testator and witnesses taken when the will was executed;
- A photo or other visual record of identification documentation of the testator and witnesses (i.e., driver’s license or passport); and
- An audio and video recording of the signing of the will.
Are There Benefits of Electronic Wills in Phoenix?
Electronic wills can improve the accessibility of creating a will, especially for individuals unable to travel. However, as described above, the law still requires that the testator and witnesses all be physically together during the signing. Because of this, electronic wills do not appear to substantially improve convenience over simply meeting to sign at a lawyer’s office.
Additionally, e-wills must meet additional requirements for electronic storage. In comparison, physical documents can simply be stored in a safe place of your choosing.
Nicole Pavlik offers the best of both worlds with her virtual estate planning services. She meets by phone or video with her clients when preparing their wills and other estate planning documents. The only time they need to come into the office is to sign the final documents, where office staff can serve as the notary.
Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney. If you have questions about electronic wills, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation.