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Law

AK Senate Bill 241

Notary Law Update: AK Senate Bill 241

State: Alaska

Summary:

Senate Bill 241 adds a provision temporarily enabling the remote witnessing of last wills before an Alaska Notary Public using videoconference technology.

Signed:  April 09, 2020

Effective:  April 09, 2020

Chapter: 10

Affects:

Amends the Alaska uncodified law by adding a new section.

Changes:
  1. Defines "videoconference" as a conference using technology that enables the testator, Notary, or the person making the acknowledgment and the person executing the document and witnesses to, while in different locations, simultaneously communicate orally and maintain visual contact.
  2. Allows a will to be signed or witnessed using videoconference during the COVID-19 emergency declared by the Governor and extended under the act and for 10 days thereafter if the will contains a written statement, as specified.
  3. Requires each witness who witnesses a will to, within 60 days after executing the will by videoconference, to sign a written statement, as specified, and attach it to the will.
Analysis:

At a late juncture in the legislative enactment of Senate Bill 241, a videoconference provision potentially affecting Notaries was added to the bill. Under the provision added to the bill, a testator who signs their last will, the witnesses and Notary may appear before each other using videoconference technology. Usually, a Notary will notarize the affidavits of a last will, making the last will self-proving. That is, by the witnesses signing and Notary notarizing an affidavit that is attached to the will, the witnesses are relieved of any responsibility to appear at the time the will is probated and testify that they witnessed the will being signed. That's because their testimony has been appended to the will in the form of a sworn affidavit. Senate Bill 241 requires the witnesses to sign a prescribed statement under penalty of perjury that is then added to the will. Then up to 60 days thereafter another prescribed statement must be signed by the witnesses under penalty of perjury and added to the original will or an exact facsimile of the original will. Although the bill doesn't provide any additional details regarding the Notary, it is assumed that any self-proving affidavits added to the will may be subscribed and sworn to before the Notary using videoconference technology as may be required or allowed under Alaska Statutes 13.12.504.

Senate Bill 241 is effective until March 11, 2021.

Read the bill text.

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