Today, more people than ever are conducting business online or during virtual meetings.
And when it comes to creating an estate plan, there are digital solutions that allow people to make a will, consult professionals and manage assets without ever leaving home. However, there are a few critical limitations and precautions of which readers should be aware.
Notarization and witnesses
Certain legal documents must be signed by witnesses or notarized. Some states allow a notary to notarize a document remotely. Colorado authorized temporary measures to suspend the in-person requirement for notarizations due to stay-at-home orders. However, under normal circumstances in this state, parties must appear physically to have something notarized.
If a will is not notarized, two witnesses must sign the document to confirm the identity and capacity of the person making the will.
Getting it all in writing
You do not need to handwrite a will for it to be valid. In fact, typing it up can avoid some of the challenges that come with handwritten wills (or holographic wills).
However, typing up your will is as digitally advanced as you should get. Colorado courts generally will not consider an expression of your wishes on video or an audio recording to be a valid will. Keep in mind, however, that if typed, it must have two witnesses or a notary.
Consulting the professionals
Estate planning can be complicated and overwhelming, and no one should feel like they must navigate the process themselves. There are myriad professionals who can help people understand complicated areas like taxes, state laws, financial planning and business transactions.
Depending on your needs and capabilities, you can consult relevant professionals through video conferencing or other digital mediums. Just make sure that you use secure programs to exchange sensitive information. And you may also want to retain records of the conversations in case you need to reference them later.
Technology can make things easier in a lot of ways. However, there are elements of the legal system that have yet to catch up with modern technology; others are necessarily analog. When it comes to the process of creating a will, consider the tools that could make it easier, but be cautious of ill-advised shortcuts that could compromise your wishes.