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Are Electronic Wills Valid in Arizona?

Modern technology has transformed the way we do almost everything, estate planning included. In 2018, Arizona became the third state to recognize electronic wills, or “e-wills,” as valid. An e-will functions the same as a hardcopy will, but it is a digital file instead of a physical document. 

If you’re considering creating an electronic will in Arizona, you need to know exactly what is required to make it valid. Here’s how to go about it.

What Is an Electronic Will?

An e-will is a legally valid digital document that lays out your wishes for how your assets should be distributed to your loved ones after you pass. An electronic will is 100% digital— it is created, signed, and stored electronically. 

But even though electronic wills are valid in Arizona, there are many important factors to consider before you create one. Here are some of the pros and cons of an electronic will.

Pros of Electronic Wills:

They’re Convenient and Efficient

E-wills eliminate the need for physical paperwork, which makes them much more convenient than traditional wills. Electronic wills are also a great option for people who don’t have easy access to a printer. Plus, there’s no need to invest in secure physical storage (like a safe) or worry about losing the original hard copy

E-Wills Are Easy to Access and Share

Digital files are also easier to share than physical documents. All you need to do is attach the file to an email, so you can easily share it with your executor, lawyer, or beneficiaries. You can also create and share as many copies as you need in seconds. 

Cons of Electronic Wills:

E-Wills Present Security Concerns

Electronic wills can be vulnerable to hackers, unauthorized access, and data breaches. It’s crucial that you employ proper data security practices such as encryption and password protection. It’s also important to choose a reliable storage platform that won’t suffer security breaches.   

They Have Limitations 

Arizona’s requirements for valid electronic wills are far more strict compared to other states that recognize e-wills. While some states allow for virtual witnessing and electronic notarization, Arizona requires that all witnesses and notaries be physically present during the execution of an e-will. 

How to Create a Valid Electronic Will

Making a mistake in your e-will could render it invalid, which means the court will get to decide how to distribute your assets. They could end up in the wrong hands, or in the right hands at the wrong time.

According to Arizona law, an electronic will must meet the following requirements to be considered valid:

  1. The will must be created and maintained digitally.
  2. It must have the testator’s electronic signature. As with a traditional paper will, someone else can sign for the testator as long as the testator consents and is present during the signing. 
  3. It must also contain the electronic signatures of at least two witnesses. These witnesses must be present when the testator electronically signs the will. 
  4. The will must include the date that the testator and witnesses electronically signed it.
  5. The testator must include a copy of their government-issued ID, which must be valid at the time the will was executed. 

If you move to another state after making an e-will, make sure to update your estate plan right away. Not all states recognize electronic wills, so you may need to create a hard copy in order for it to be valid. 

Estate Planning Services in Mesa and Chandler

If you’re ready to create an electronic will and protect your assets with estate planning, contact the Phelps LaClair team. We have over 40 years of experience in drafting different types of wills for Arizona residents. 

No matter what kind of will you choose to create, we’ll ensure that it’s valid so it will be successful when the time comes. Give us a call at 480-892-2488 to schedule a free consultation in Mesa, Chandler, or one of our other convenient Arizona locations


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/11/2023). Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash 

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