Scott Bieber, Steve Cupples, Ed McGillen, and Rob Morse of Thompson Coburn LLP, have made available for download their article, “Illinois codified procedures for remote execution of wills,” published on JDSUPRA. The abstract begins as follows:
On March 26, 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic spreading throughout Illinois, Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-14 (the “Executive Order”), which, among other things, authorized wills and other testamentary estate planning instruments to be witnessed and notarized remotely using the appropriate videoconferencing technology. This Executive Order was meant to be a stopgap measure to solve the unique challenges executing a will or other testamentary document during the pandemic. As the pandemic continued, however, the legislature considered a more permanent fix.
Exactly 16 months later, on July 26, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act (the “Act”), which became effective immediately. The Act not only provided legislative approval to a slightly modified version of the remote witnessing and notarization process for wills outlined in the Executive Order until 30 days after the expiration of the Governor’s emergency declaration for the pandemic (Section 15-20 of the Act), but also made significant changes to the legal requirements for executing and storing testamentary documents, including authorizing the execution, storage, and probate of electronic wills in Illinois for the first time. While the Act does not modify or address remote notarizations, the legislature recently enacted legislation making changes to the Illinois Notary Public Act. Most of these changes, however (including many of those related to remote notarizations), will not take effect until the earlier of January 1, 2022, and the promulgation of administrative rules by the Secretary of State.
Posted by Anthony Tran, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal