April 8, 2020 - Trusts and Estates Group News: We are All in This Together: Signing Your Estate Plan During the Pandemic
We are working on a long-term solution.
Meanwhile, we have been working to modernize our state laws to allow Wills to be signed electronically. Many clients have asked about this, as electronically signed contracts and other commercial documents have been the norm for many years. Likewise, notary laws have long allowed notaries to perform a notarial act on an electronic document while in the signer’s physical presence, known as “electronic notarization.” About half the states, but not Connecticut, Massachusetts or New York, have updated their notary laws to authorize notaries to use communication technologies to perform so-called “remote” or webcam notarization. Such technologies are currently available and can also be employed by witnesses and a notary located remotely.
Until our laws are changed and while we all shelter in place, we will continue to ensure that our clients safely sign the documents we draft for them. The procedures we suggest and employ will vary, but will not be as frustrating as remotely shopping for supplies—we promise! And of course, we’ll wear face coverings!
 An electronic document is one that is signed digitally only. No paper is involved.
 Murtha partner Suzanne Brown Walsh Chaired the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Electronic Wills Act [https://www.uniformlaws.org/viewdocument/final-act-with-comments-130?CommunityKey=a0a16f19-97a8-4f86-afc1-b1c0e051fc71&tab=librarydocuments] Drafting Committee, which when enacted, would allow enacting state residents to virtually sign electronic wills.