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Create Your Online Will in Washington: Estate Planning Simplified

If you live in Washington, you can make your last will and testament online. Use this guide to learn how to create your online will in Washington.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

There is a common perception that estate planning is much harder than it actually is. Whether it be the perceived cost or difficulty, many individuals drag their feet when it comes to getting their Will in place. What if we told you this is no longer the case? Thanks to technology and the modernization of relevant laws, you can now create your Will and other estate planning documents online, making the process so much more convenient and affordable than it used to be.

While the general process of creating a Will is standard no matter your location, the devil is in the details. State laws govern the specific rules and requirements on Wills and estate plans. If you plan to make an online Will in Washington, then you must take care to satisfy the requirements set forth by Washington statutes in order for your Will to be valid. This guide will provide an overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in the Evergreen State.

What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Washington

The process of creating a valid Will in Washington is set forth by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the Revised Code of Washington Title 11, Chapter 12 - Wills §§ 11.12.010 — 11.12.491.

An online Will is recognized by Washington probate courts so long as the above-cited legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic. 

How Much Does a Will Cost in Washington State?

In Washington, you can expect to spend roughly $350 to $1,000 on a Will. These are estimates that vary depending on three factors: method of execution, attorney fees, and complexity of the estate.

For example, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they wish to establish a Trust. 

However, most individuals have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides Washington residents with an affordable alternative. You can create your state-specific online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.

Are Online Wills Legal in Washington State?

Yes, both online Wills and eWills are legal in Washington.

The Uniform Electronic Wills Act (UEWA) went into effect in Washington on January 1, 2022, allowing residents to draft, sign, witness, and notarize their Wills electronically and virtually. WA Senate Bill 5132 addresses the execution of electronic Wills specifically. 

Prior to this revision to the estate planning statutes, a Will could be created online but still had to be printed on paper, signed, and witnessed physically. Today, an eWill can remain in its digital format from end to end, never having to be reduced to paper. 

With this exciting news in mind, here are the legal requirements for making an online Will in Washington:

  • You must be at least 18 years old

  • You must be of sound mind

  • The Will must be in writing

  • You must sign the Will before two witnesses

  • Your two witnesses must sign the Will before you

For electronic or digital-only Wills, the above legal requirements remain unchanged. To make a valid eWill in Washington, these additional requirements must be followed:

  • Must be a record readable as text

  • Must be stored by a qualified custodian at all times from the time the eWill is executed to the time it is admitted to probate

The Evergreen State allows remote online notarization (RON). You can utilize audio-visual services to connect with a notary public remotely to digitally sign your eWill. However, keep in mind that you still need two witnesses. Some states allow Testators to sign their eWills before a notary public in place of two witnesses, but in Washington, you must have two witnesses regardless of whether or not you have your document notarized.

Can I Write My Own Will in Washington State?

Yes, you can write your own Will in Washington. Individuals can write their own Will, called a holographic Will, so long as the Will itself, the date, and signature are all in their own handwriting.

However, writing your own Will can leave you vulnerable to errors and pitfalls that could render your wishes legally unenforceable. Instead, we highly recommend obtaining professional estate planning support. Some individuals choose not to work with an attorney for specific reasons, such as wanting to keep their private information to themselves, or finding attorney fees cost-prohibitive.

Whatever the reason may be, an alternative solution to consider is creating a Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in Washington and will satisfy your desired objectives. We also offer bank-level security to protect your private information.

What are the Requirements for a Will to be Valid in Washington State?

The following outlines the legal requirements for a valid online Will in Washington State:

  • The Will must be in writing.

  • The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.

  • The Will must be signed by the Testator before two competent witnesses (may be before a notary public in the case of an eWill.)

  • The two witnesses must sign the Will before the Testator or sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Will in Washington?

No, you do not need a lawyer to file a Will in Washington. Generally speaking, Evergreen State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet. 

Otherwise, making your Will online is a reliable and convenient option. This is especially so when your wishes are straightforward and your estate is relatively simple. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform will guide you through the process of creating and executing a Will that is compliant in your state. 

How Do I Sign an Online Will in Washington State?

Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your online Will in Washington:

  1. Print out your Will unless it is electronic 

  2. Sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses (can be an electronic signature)

  3. Have your two witnesses sign the Will in your presence or sign an affidavit before a notary public

  4. Attach a notarized affidavit to make your Will self-proving

Once you complete the steps above, you will have a legal and valid Will in Washington.

Do Wills Need to be Notarized in Washington?

No, a Will does not need to be notarized in Washington. While it is optional, it’s an encouraged step to make your Will “self-proving.” 

During the notarization (online or physical), you and your witnesses will confirm your identities and make sworn statements. An affidavit is signed, notarized, and attached to the Will. This process proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will. 

If the Will is self-proving, then the probate court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.

Now that Washington has enabled the recognition of both eWills and remote online notarization (RON), getting your Will notarized is even easier. Trust & Will has partnered with Notarize, a trusted online notary service to allow for the seamless notarization of eWills online. 

Who Can Witness a Will in Washington?

In Washington, a mentally competent adult over the age of 18 can witness a Will. They should also be able to read and understand English. Witnesses don’t have to know the Testator. In theory, they could be complete strangers. 

However, neither of your two witnesses should be “interested parties” or beneficiaries named in your Will. This could invalidate their inheritances or otherwise lead to challenges or claims against the validity of the Will. At a minimum, doing so can further delay the probate process. It is generally advised to select disinterested parties as your witnesses, even if your state’s regulations don’t expressly forbid it. 

How to Create Washington Last Will and Testament Online

The State of Washington now recognizes eWills, making the online Will creation process even more seamless. Once you create your Will, you no longer have to print it out if you wish to maintain an electronic or digital format. This will provide a much more convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning the traditional way.

With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Washington:

  1. Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.

  2. Draft your Will

  3. Review and finalize your Will

  4. Sign the Will (digital signature allowed) in the presence of two witnesses

  5. Obtain signatures or notarized affidavits from your witnesses 

  6. Get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving (electronic/remote allowed)

  7. Store your Will in a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault

  8. Review and revise your Will regularly

In the case of an eWill, the Evergreen State requires that it is stored digitally with a qualified custodian from the time of execution until it is formally admitted to probate.

What Can I Include in an Online Will in Washington?

Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:

  • An inventory of your property and assets

  • A list of your Beneficiaries

  • Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations

  • Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate

  • A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)

  • A named individual to manage property for dependent children

  • Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.

  • Any final instructions or notes for loved ones

The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help create a Will customized to your unique needs.

Create Your Online Will in Washington Today

Washington is one of the first U.S. states to allow its residents to create both online Wills and electronic Wills. Online Wills are Wills that are created online, but are eventually printed on paper for signing and witnessing. Electronic Wills remain in digital format from start to finish, and are never reduced to paper. They utilize audio-visual conferencing tools and electronic signatures. 

Regardless of the method you choose, one thing remains unchanged. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Washington is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements. Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Evergreen State that you should be aware of. 

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement  options today!

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.