Is your estate plan leaving you black and blue?
By: Jose Roman
I recently finished updating my own estate planning documents. I made sure everything was how I wanted it and then the time came to sign them to make them effective. Now for whatever reason I have always preferred black pens over blue pens throughout my life. So I grabbed my trusty black pen and signed my documents in front of a notary and two other witnesses. Later that weekend I wanted to scan my documents onto my computer just to have a backup. Now, currently in Pennsylvania electronic copies of Wills are not considered valid, but that law may change in the future so if it does I wanted to have a copy. For my Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney electronic copies are valid, so having an electronic backup of those documents makes sense.
I scanned my documents onto my computer and noticed right away that going forward I will not sign nor will I have my clients sign their estate planning documents in black ink. Here is why. You see when you sign your documents in black ink and then later scan or photocopy them it's hard to tell which is the original and which is the photocopy. If you sign them in blue ink the difference is apparent. In the case of a Will that is required to be an original, you can clearly see which is the copy and which is the original. If you scan your documents onto your computer and they are scanned in color you will have an exact copy of your document that clearly shows the blue ink. If the ink is black then it will just end up looking like a black and white photocopy even though the scan is in color.
Currently there are efforts around the country to make electronically stored Wills just as valid as originals, but there is no knowing when or if they will be acceptable in Pennsylvania. Powers of Attorney are acceptable if they are provided in a photocopy or electronic form. In either case by signing your estate planning documents in a blue ink you ensure that people can easily tell an original from a copy.
Hope this tip has been helpful. Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/romanestatelawllc for future blog post updates. If you live in Pennsylvania and are looking to sign your estate planning documents please visit www.romanestatelaw.com/book-online to book your estate planning consultation.