Code of the District of Columbia

§ [18-113]. Electronic wills.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(2) "Electronic presence" means when one or more witnesses are in a different physical location than the testator but can observe and communicate with the testator and one another to the same extent as if the witnesses and testator were physically present with one another.

(3) "Electronic will" means a will or codicil executed by electronic means.

(4) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(5) "Sign" means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to:

(A) Execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or

(B) Affix to or associate with the record an electronic signature.

(b)(1) A validly executed electronic will shall be a record that is:

(A) Readable as text at the time of signing pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph; and

(B) Signed:

(i) By the testator, or by another person in the testator's physical presence and by the testator's express direction; and

(ii) In the physical or electronic presence of the testator by at least 2 credible witnesses, each of whom is physically located in the United States at the time of signing.

(2) In order for the electronic will to be admitted to the Probate Court, the testator, a witness to the will, or an attorney admitted to practice in the District of Columbia who supervised the execution of the electronic will shall certify a paper copy of the electronic will by affirming under penalty of perjury that:

(A) The paper copy of the electronic will is a complete, true, and accurate copy of the electronic will; and

(B) The conditions in paragraph (1) of this subsection were satisfied at the time the electronic will was signed.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a certified paper copy of an electronic will shall be deemed to be the electronic will of the testator for all purposes under this title.

(c)(1) An electronic will may revoke all or part of a previous will or electronic will.

(2) An electronic will, or a part thereof, is revoked by:

(A) A subsequent will or electronic will that revokes the electronic will, or a part thereof, expressly or by inconsistency; or

(B) A direct physical act cancelling the electronic will, or a part thereof, with the intention of revoking it, by the testator or a person in the testator's physical presence and by the testator's express direction and consent.

(3) After it is revoked, an electronic will, or a part thereof, may not be revived other than by its re-execution, or by a codicil executed as provided in the case of wills or electronic wills, and then only to the extent to which an intention to revive is shown in the codicil.

(d) An electronic will not in compliance with subsection (b)(1) of this section is valid if executed in compliance with the law of the jurisdiction where the testator is:

(1) Physically located when the electronic will is signed; or

(2) Domiciled or resides when the electronic will is signed or when the testator dies.

(e) Except as otherwise provided in this section:

(1) An electronic will is a will for all purposes under the laws of the District of Columbia; and

(2) The laws of the District of Columbia applicable to wills and principles of equity apply to an electronic will.

(f) This section shall apply to electronic wills made during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01.


(June 8, 2020, D.C. Act 23-328, § 811(c), 67 DCR 7598.)