Paul Sullivan, a columnist at the New York Times, analyzes the new trend of creating online wills and trust documents, along with the proposed laws that seek to legitimize this practice. According to Sullivan, online wills have been available for years through sites such as Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom. Although these wills can be created online, they must still be printed out, signed by a notary, and witnessed by two people. The document then must be stored physically rather than being uploaded online, which would inevitably invalidate the will. However, there has been an increasingly popular movement towards legalizing e-signatures for wills and trusts; this change would allow individuals to create their own estate plan completely online. The Uniform Law Commission has proposed the Uniform Electronic Wills Act to push states to allow online wills as legitimate documents.
Sullivan comments on this new proposal by recognizing that although online wills provide convenience, there are many issues that may arise with this practice. Online wills could lead to exploitation, confusion, and difficulty because they are completed without a good advisor. Overall, these new e-wills are certainly a new and unconventional way of estate planning.
Posted by Katie Thompson, Assistant Editor of the Wealth Strategies Journal.