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Law

UT House Bill 6001

Notary Law Update: UT House Bill 6001

State: Utah

Summary:

House Bill enacts the Uniform Electronic Wills Act and clarifies that a Notary is not disqualified from performing a notarization on a self-proving electronic will if the Notary is signing or named in a self-proving electronic will.

Signed:  August 31, 2020

Effective:  August 31, 2020

Chapter: TBD

Affects:

Amends Section 46-1-7 of and adds Sections 75-2-1401 through 752-1411 to the Utah Code Annotated.

Changes:
  1. Defines “electronic presence” as the relationship of two or more individuals in different locations communicating in real time to the same extent as if the individuals were physically present in the same location.
  2. Provides that an electronic will may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proving by the acknowledgment of the testator and affidavits of the witnesses of the will.
  3. Requires the acknowledgment of the testator and affidavits of the witnesses in a self-proving electronic will to be made before an officer authorized to administer oaths, regardless of whether the officer also is a witness to the electronic will, and evidenced by the officer's certificate under official seal affixed to or logically associated with the electronic will.
  4. Provides statutory forms for the acknowledgment and affidavits of a self-proving electronic will.
  5. Clarifies that to the extent that the section containing the statutory forms for the acknowledgment and affidavits of self-proving electronic will conflicts with the Notaries Public Reform Act, that section supersedes the Notaries Public Reform Act.
  6. Clarifies that a Notary is not disqualified from performing a notarization if the Notary is signing or named in a self-proved electronic will.
Analysis:

In its sixth special session of 2020, the Utah Legislature has passed and the Governor signed the Uniform Electronic Wills Act. The Act, which is based upon provisions of the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Electronic Wills Act, contains provisions allowing electronic wills to be made “self-proving.” That is, instead of requiring the witnesses to an electronic will to appear in probate proceedings when the electronic will is filed with the court, the witnesses can sign affidavits with their testimony that they witnessed the will being signed by the testator at the time the will is signed. The acknowledgment of the testator and affidavits of the witnesses must be made before a Notary or officer authorized to administer oaths. As this bill was enacted during the time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, now electronic technology may be used to sign and make a will self-proving. This will aid both consumers seeking to establish their estate plans and Notaries who are asked to witness these notarizations, since the new law allows the witnesses to sign the electronic will in either the physical or “electronic” presence of the testator.

Read the bill text.

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