On July 17, 2019, the Uniform Law Commission passed an act allowing probate courts to validate Wills electronically signed by a testator and witnesses. 

Texas law does not presently permit electronic signing and witnessing of Wills due to special signing requirements to make sure the Will is valid. As a result, Texas presently only permits paper Wills. However, filing of Wills electronically has been standard practice for several years, and it is probably only a matter of time (although it may be years) until electronic Wills may be standard as well.

Electronic Wills Act Approved by Uniform Law Commissioners

Pursuant to this Act, the Will (or Codicil) must be simultaneously signed, attested and the witnesses either be physically or remotely present (dependent on passage of law by the state).

Furthermore, a certified paper copy of an electronic Will with a self-proving affidavit could be validated by affirming under penalty of perjury that a paper copy of the electronic Will is a complete, true and accurate copy of the electronic Will. Also, the electronic Will must be stored in a way that prevents tampering. Each state will probably have their own laws to prevent fraud, although it is anticipated that the Will in one state may be good in another due to the Constitutional “full faith and credit” provisions. Execution requirements (in Texas, the one who signs the Will should generally be over age 18 and the two disinterested witnesses should be over age 14 and in the presence of the one signing the Will and each other before a notary public) will likely remain the same.

If interested in learning more, consider attending our next free “Estate Planning Essentials” workshop by calling us at (214) 720-0102 or sign up by clicking here.

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