Digital Wills: Has the Time Come for Wills to Join the Digital Revolution?

38 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2009  

Gerry W. Beyer

Texas Tech University School of Law

Claire G. Hargrove

St. Mary's University School of Law

Date Written: February 12, 2009

Abstract

We are certainly in an electronic age. Society has made a definite transition from the use of paper to an overwhelming reliance on electronic transactions. This development has not escaped notice by the estate planning community, especially in the matters of advanced directives. This article examines whether the time has come to bring wills into the digital age, particularly in light of the necessity to preserve the physical representation of the testator's desires. The article outlines the historical development of the writing requirement beginning with the ancients to modern day. The authors then address the policies supporting the writing requirement, the expansion of what may constitute a "writing," and the barriers which must be surmounted before electronic wills are viable. The article concludes with an analysis of the question posed, whether, upon examination of the history and policies of the writing requirement, as well as the challenges faced by electronic wills, now really is the time for digital wills.

Keywords: wills, digital wills, electronic wills, estate planning

JEL Classification: K11, K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Gerry W. and Hargrove, Claire G., Digital Wills: Has the Time Come for Wills to Join the Digital Revolution? (February 12, 2009). Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 865-902, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1341965

Gerry W. Beyer (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University School of Law ( email )

1802 Hartford
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States
806-834-4270 (Phone)
978-285-7941 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ProfessorBeyer.com

Claire G. Hargrove

St. Mary's University School of Law ( email )

One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228-8602
United States
210-431-2208 (Phone)

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