Digital Wills: Has the Time Come for Wills to Join the Digital Revolution?
Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech University School of Law
Claire G. Hargrove
St. Mary's University School of Law
February 12, 2009
Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 865-902, 2007
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: wills, digital wills, electronic wills, estate planning
JEL Classification: K11, K19, K39
Date posted: March 9, 2009