Surrogate Darling Testifies before NJ Senate Judiciary Committee
Published on January 31, 2023
SURROGATE DARLING TESTIFIES BEFORE NJ SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF Bill S2923, ELECTRONIC WILLS
For Immediate Release: January 31, 2023
Morristown, NJ – Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling attended the New Jersey State Legislative Senate Judiciary Committee to provide her testimony regarding Senate Bill S2923 “Uniform Electronic Wills Act.”
At the invitation of Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Brian Stack (District 33), co-sponsor of S2923 with Senator Joseph Pennacchio (District 26), Surrogate Darling provided information regarding electronic wills to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In her opening remarks Surrogate Darling explained, “an electronic will is created entirely online. As with a paper will, it may be created by an attorney or an individual. An electronic will uses electronic signatures instead of wet ink signatures and because it is created digitally, it can be easily stored by the testator or their assignee and transmitted online.”
This came about after Surrogate Darling spoke about her office’s electronic probate (e-File) at a New Jersey Bar Association event. She was approached by Bar members with the desire for electronic wills in New Jersey. After investigating, she found that electronic wills are currently available in 7 states and others are considering it. Surrogate Darling engaged with industry participants and supported the development of Senate Bill S2923 at the direction of Senator Pennacchio.
Surrogate Darling went on to say to the Senate Judiciary Committee that “it is only a matter of time until a New Jersey Surrogate will be presented with an electronic will for probate. And that, as it stands, they have no means by which to probate these types of wills which would then ultimately end up in front of a probate judge; causing families undue expense and further burdening our courts.” Surrogate Darling responded to the questions of the committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to meet again for further discussion on this bill. To hear the audio from the hearing, please go to Senate Judiciary Jan 30, 2023.
For more information on the Morris County Surrogate’s Court, please visit www.morrissurrogate.com.