We can do far more with our phones today than most people ever imagined. Will we ever be able to create our wills on them and have them accepted in court? It’s already happened in Australia, but do not plan on leaving a will on a phone in the United States.
A recent article in The National Law Review titled “Are iWills the Way of the Future?“ tells the story of an Australian man who drafted a will on his iPhone. You read that right. He not only prepared his own will, but he actually titled the document as his last will and testament. Shortly thereafter the man committed suicide. This will was accepted as valid by an Australian probate court. The court found that under all the circumstances, there was sufficient evidence to believe the document was the man’s will, but he did so on his smartphone.
Before you go rushing to type a will on your smartphone, however, you should understand that doing so is not wise. A probate court in the United States will most likely not accept such a will as valid.
Why? A court has no way of knowing whether a will on a phone was actually created by the deceased or whether someone else created it. In addition, the court might not be able to tell whether the will was tampered with. The original article points out other potential problems with such a smartphone-created will.
Someday, electronic wills and other estate planning documents might become standard. For now, the technology is still too new to rely on. The best way to create a will today is to visit an experienced estate planning attorney and have a will properly prepared on good, old-fashioned paper following all of the required legal formalities. After all, you do want your will to work when needed.
Reference: The National Law Review (September 19, 2014) “Are iWills the Way of the Future?”
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