Electronic Wills: Drawing a Line in the Sand Against Their Validity
Posted: 29 Sep 2012 Last revised: 27 Jul 2015
Date Written: December 6, 2010
Editors’ Synopsis: Electronic communication and documentation are ubiquitous and, in the commercial world, allow us to more easily and quickly gratify a broad range of consumer desires. This article addresses whether electronic media also should be permitted to play a role in effectuating our desires after death. More specifically, it discusses whether state legislatures should follow the lead of Nevada in enacting legislation that permits probate courts to recognize the validity of a will that exists solely in an original electronic format. The author concludes that the resulting gains in convenience are not worth the increased exposure to fraud that sometimes accompanies electronic transactions. Instead, the article suggests that wider adoption of the Uniform Probate Code’s harmless error doctrine will allow courts to give effect to clear and convincing expressions of testamentary intent regardless of how they are memorialized.
Keywords: probate, wills, electronic wills, statute of wills
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