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Law

CO House Bill 21-1004/Senate Bill 21-266

Notary Law Update: CO House Bill 21-1004/Senate Bill 21-266

State: Colorado

Summary:
House Bill 21-1004 authorizes electronic wills and allows notarization of electronic wills and self-proving affidavits to electronic wills by remote online notarization. Senate Bill 21-266, enacted later in the session, relocates the provisions to another section of the statutes.

Signed:  January 26, 2021

Effective:  January 26, 2021

Chapter: 3

Affects:

House Bill 21-1004 adds Sections 15-12-1501 through 15-12-1511 to and amends Section 24-21.514.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Senate Bill 21-266 moves the electronic will provisions to Sections 15-11-1301 through 15-11-1311 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. 

Changes:
  1. Enacts the Uniform Electronic Wills Act.
  2. Defines terms.
  3. Authorizes last wills to be electronically created and signed.
  4. Requires an electronic will to be signed by the testator or another individual in the testator's name, in the testator's physical presence, and by the testator's direction.
  5. Requires an electronic will to be (a) signed in the physical or electronic presence of the testator by at least two individuals, each of whom is a resident of Colorado and physically located in Colorado at the time of signing and within a reasonable time after witnessing the signing of the will or the testator's acknowledgment of the signing of the will or acknowledgment of the will; or (b) acknowledged by the testator before and in the physical or electronic presence of a Notary or other individual who is authorized to notarize records in Colorado, and who is located in Colorado at the notarial act is performed.
  6. Allows an electronic will to be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proving by acknowledgment of the testator and affidavits of the witnesses.
  7. Requires the acknowledgment and affidavits for a self-proving will to be made in the physical presence of an officer authorized to administer oaths, or if fewer than two witnesses are physically present in the same location as the testator at the time of signing the electronic will, in the physical or electronic presence of a Notary or other individual who is authorized by Colorado law to notarize records, and who is located in Colorado at the time the notarial act is performed.
  8. Requires a self-proving will to be evidenced by a Notary's or notarial officer’s certificate under official seal affixed to or logically associated with the electronic will.
  9. Provides a statutory form for the acknowledgment and affidavits of a self-proving electronic will.
  10. Provides that notarization of an electronic will and self-proving affidavits to an electronic will under the Uniform Electronic Wills act may be performed using remote online notarization.
Analysis:
To bring in the new year, Colorado has enacted the Uniform Electronic Willis Act. The Act allows an individual to create and sign their last will as an electronic will. The Act also authorizes an electronic will to be notarized as one of the options for executing an electronic will. The testator (who signs the will) may appear in the physical or electronic presence of the Notary, which under Colorado law would mean that if a Notary is authorized to perform remote online notarizations, the electronic will may be notarized that way. The Act also allows an electronic will to be made self-proving through the acknowledgment of the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, which of course must be notarized. Those, too, may be notarized using remote online notarization if the Notary has qualified to perform those acts.

House Bill 21-1004 created the new electronic will provisions in Article 12 of Title 15. The electronic will provisions of Senate Bill 21-266, signed by the Governor on July 2, 2021 and effective that same day, moved these provisions to Article 11.

Read the bill text of House Bill 21-1004.

Read the bill text of Senate Bill 21-266.

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