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ABA Approves Two New Uniform Acts

  • 1.  ABA Approves Two New Uniform Acts

    Posted 02-19-2020 11:03 AM

    February 19, 2020 – Two new uniform acts have been approved by the American Bar Association's House of Delegates as "appropriate Acts for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein." The acts were approved at the ABA's Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas, February 12-17, 2020.  The acts were drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2019.  

    The Uniform Electronic Wills Act permits testators to execute an electronic will and allows probate courts to give electronic wills legal effect.  Most documents that were traditionally printed on paper can now be created, transferred, signed, and recorded in electronic form.  Since 2000 the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and a similar federal law, E-SIGN have provided that a transaction is not invalid solely because the terms of the contract are in an electronic format.  But UETA and E-SIGN both contain an express exception for wills, which, because the testator is deceased at the time the document must be interpreted, are subject to special execution requirements to ensure validity and must still be executed on paper in most states.  Under the new Uniform Electronic Wills Act, the testator's electronic signature must be witnessed contemporaneously (or notarized contemporaneously in states that allow notarized wills) and the document must be stored in a tamper-evident file.  States will have the option to include language that allows remote witnessing.  The act will also address recognition of electronic wills executed under the law of another state.  For a generation that is used to banking, communicating, and transacting business online, the Uniform Electronic Wills Act will allow online estate planning while maintaining safeguards to help prevent fraud and coercion.

    The Uniform Registration of Canadian Money Judgments Act ("Registration Act") creates an administrative procedure for the registration and enforcement of a Canadian money judgment in an enacting state. Once the Canadian judgment is successfully registered in the state, the judgment is enforceable in the same manner as a judgment rendered in that state. The Registration Act only applies to a Canadian judgment if it (1) grants or denies recovery of a sum of money; (2) is final, conclusive, and enforceable in Canada; and (3) its recognition is sought in order to enforce the judgment.  The Registration Act supplements the Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act ("Recognition Act") by providing an alternative method to seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment.  If a state has not enacted the Recognition Act, it may enact this Act at the same time it adopts the Recognition Act as a companion Act.  The Registration Act offers an efficient alternative to filing a lawsuit to recognize and enforce a Canadian money judgment in the United States.

    Information on each of these uniform acts is available at the ULC's website at www.uniformlaws.org.

    The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 129th year, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.  The organization comprises more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors, appointed by the states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas of state law where uniformity is desirable and practical.  Since its inception in 1892, the group has promulgated more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act. 


    Contact:  Katie Robinson, ULC Communications Officer, krobinson@...

    Uniform Law Commission / 111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago, IL 60602 / 312-450-6600 www.uniformlaws.org


    Katie Robinson
    Legislative Program Director
    Chicago IL