SB 1221
Modifies provisions relating to estate planning, including notice for transfers of the principal place of administration of a trust, electronic wills, and estate planning during the COVID-19 state of emergency
Sponsor:
LR Number:
3910S.01I
Last Action:
2/12/2024 - Hearing Conducted S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Title:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2024

Current Bill Summary

SB 1221 - This act modifies provisions relating to estate planning, including notice for transfers of the principal place of administration of a trust, electronic wills, and estate planning during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

PRINCIPAL PLACE OF ADMINISTRATION OF A TRUST (SECTION 456.1-108)

This act provides that the notice of proposed transfer of a trust's principal place of administration shall include a notice stating that a change in the place of administration may result in a change of the trust's governing law, which may affect the rights of any beneficiaries in ways the new governing law differs from the current governing law.

This provision is identical to a provision in SB 569 (2023).

UNIFORM ELECTRONIC WILLS AND ELECTRONIC ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS ACT (SECTIONS 474.540 TO 474.564)

This act establishes the "Uniform Electronic Wills and Electronic Estate Planning Documents Act," which provides for the execution of wills through electronic methods.

An electronic will shall be a will for all purposes of the laws of this state. An electronic will is a record that is readable, and remains accessible, as text at the time of signing by the testator or by another individual in the testator's name, in the testator's physical presence, and by the testator's direction. Additionally, an electronic will shall be signed by at least two individuals in the physical or electronic presence of the testator within a reasonable amount of time after witnessing the signing of the will or acknowledgment of the will or signing. Additionally, this act provides that an electronic will not executed in compliance with these requirements shall still be an electronic will under this act if executed in compliance with the law of the jurisdiction where the testator is physically located, domiciled, or resides when the will was signed or where the testator is domiciled or resides upon his or her death.

The intent of the testator that the record be an electronic will may be established by extrinsic evidence. As provided in the act, an electronic will may be made self-proving by acknowledgment of the testator.

An electronic will may revoke all or part of a previous will and an electronic will shall be revoked by use of:

(1) A subsequent will that revokes the electronic will expressly or by inconsistency;

(2) A written instrument signed by the testator declaring the revocation; or

(3) A physical act, if established by a preponderance of the evidence that the testator, with the intent of revoking, performed or directed another individual to perform the act in the testator's physical presence.

Additionally, if there is evidence that a testator signed an electronic will, but neither the electronic will nor a certified paper copy can be located after a testator's death, there shall be a presumption that the testator revoked the electronic will, even if no instrument or later will revoking such electronic will can be located. At any time during the administration of the estate or as determined by the court if there is no grant of administration, the court may issue an order for a custodian of an account held under a terms-of-service agreement to disclose digital assets for purposes of obtaining an electronic will from the account of a deceased user.

Furthermore, this act provides that any written estate planning document, as defined in the act, may be executed electronically and no such estate planning document shall be invalid or void solely because of its electronic form or electronic signatures. Any written estate planning document that requires one or more witnesses to the signature of a principal may be witnessed by any individual in the electronic presence of the principal. Additionally, this act provides that a person who acts in reliance upon an electronically executed written estate planning document shall not be liable to any person for so relying and may assume without inquiry the valid execution of the electronically executed written estate planning document.

An individual may create a certified paper copy of an electronic will or estate planning document by affirming under penalty of perjury that a paper copy of the electronic will or document is a complete, true, and accurate copy. If a provision of law or rule of procedure requires a will or document to be presented or retained in its original form or provides consequences for the failure to present or retain the will or document in its original form, a certified paper copy shall satisfy the provision or rule.

This act also supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, except for certain provisions relating to consumer disclosures, and does not authorize electronic delivery of certain notices.

Finally, this act shall apply to any will of a decedent who dies on or after August 28, 2024, and to any written estate planning document signed or remotely witnessed on or after August 28, 2024.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 569 (2023) and are substantially similar to provisions in CCS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 72 (2023) and in HB 881 (2023).

ESTATE PLANNING DURING COVID-19 (SECTION 474.600)

With respect to the execution of an estate planning document, a person required for the execution of an estate planning document shall be deemed to have satisfied any physical presence requirement under Missouri law during the COVID-19 state of emergency if the following requirements were met:

(1) The signer affirmatively represented that he or she was physically in this state;

(2) The notary was physically located in this state and stated the county he or she was physically located in;

(3) The notary identified the signers to the satisfaction of the notary and Missouri law;

(4) Any person whose signature was required appeared using video conference software where live, interactive audio-visual communication between the principal, notary, and any other necessary person allowed for observation, direct interaction, and communication at the time of signing; and

(5) The notary recorded in his or her journal the exact time and means used to perform the act.

These requirements shall be deemed satisfied if a licensed Missouri attorney present at the remote execution signs a written acknowledgment made before an officer authorized to administer oaths and evidenced by the officer's certificate, which shall be affixed to or logically associated with the acknowledgment.

This provision is identical to a provision in SB 569 (2023) and is substantially similar to a provision in CCS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 72 (2023) and in HB 881 (2023).

KATIE O'BRIEN

Amendments

No Amendments Found.