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The Key Estate Planning Developments of 2021

With a new president and uncertainty still swirling around COVID-19 and its long-term effects, state legislatures have been very busy to say the least. The updates and changes have been steady on the trusts-and-estates-related front as well. Here’s an update on some key planning developments across the country, through Nov. 30, 2021.

Electronic Wills and Execution

Even before the pandemic, in today’s technologically driven society, courts have increasingly been called on to adjudicate the validity of electronic writings purporting to be wills. While a controversial topic, jurisdictions had begun to advance their laws to enter the electronic world, with COVID-19 accelerating the movement.

Nevada was the first state to enact legislation allowing electronic wills in 2001, which was amended in 2017. Indiana passed legislation permitting electronic wills in 2018. Arizona enacted legislation permitting electronic wills, effective on June 30, 2019. Florida enacted an Electronic Documents Act in June 2019, which became effective Jan. 1, 2020, and includes electronic wills.

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