Embracing the digital era — Illinois now allows electronic wills and remote notarization of legal documents

May 3, 2023

On July 26, 2021, in the middle of a global pandemic, a groundbreaking piece of legislation known as the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act became the new law of the Land of Lincoln. The new law has significantly modernized the process of creating and executing wills in Illinois. By authorizing the use of electronic wills, remote signing and attestation, this act has streamlined estate planning and made it more accessible than ever. The act also gives statutory approval to emergency notary and witness guidelines established during the pandemic.

A Game Changer for Estate Planning
The Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act, codified under 755 ILCS 6/1 et. al., has revolutionized the way wills are created and executed in Illinois. This legislation allows for electronic wills, enabling individuals to create and store their wills digitally, thereby increasing accessibility and convenience. The act permits remote signing and attestation, making it easier for individuals to finalize their wills even during times of social distancing or other constraints. Along with the authorization of electronic wills and remote signing, the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act also establishes procedures for probating electronic and remotely attested wills, ensuring the probate process keeps pace with other modernizations of the estate planning landscape.

Guidance for Legal Practitioners
As the law continues to evolve, it is critical for attorneys and legal professionals to stay informed and adapt to these changes. Understanding changes like the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act is essential for both drafting and administration professionals, allowing them to anticipate and resolve potential disputes that may arise due to the evolving legal landscape. Staying up-to-date with the latest provisions helps attorneys offer their clients the most effective legal assistance possible.

To sum up, it may have taken a global pandemic, but the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act of Illinois has ushered in a new era of estate planning. By authorizing electronic wills and remote signing, the act has made the estate planning process more efficient and accessible. Again, legal professionals must stay informed about these changes to best serve their clients and address potential disputes that may arise in the future. Embracing the digital transformation in estate planning will ultimately benefit both attorneys and their clients, ensuring a smoother and more streamlined experience for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please reach out to one of Chuhak & Tecson’s many talented and experienced estate planning and probate attorneys.

Client alert authored by Bryan M. Montana(312 855 6105), principal.

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.