This Note explores estate planning in the post-pandemic landscape. Part I of this Note discusses how the resistance to remote technology in estate planning is rooted in traditional notions of formalism. Part II introduces a discussion regarding the use of remote technology, including its benefits and drawbacks. Part III articulates the current legal requirements to validly notarize signatures on various estate planning documents in Washington state. This part also discusses the extent of electronic or remote notarization allowed in the wake of emergency orders issued by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in response to the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Part III analyzes approaches taken by other states and discusses a possible response currently under consideration by the federal government. Part IV of this Comment includes a discussion of the general trend towards digitization in estate planning law as shown by both the adoption of remote notarization laws in at least twenty-three states and the promulgation of the Uniform Electronic Wills Act by many states. Finally, Part IV highlights how the emergency orders resulting from COVID-19 may provide greater impetus for lawmakers to make permanent changes to remote notarization.
Matthew Fiedler, Post-Pandemic Estate Planning: Analyzing the Recent Changes in Remote Notarization Laws, 45 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 741 (2022).