Monday, November 18, 2019
In the 21st century, electronic wills are coming of age. Companies that sell boilerplate online will are advocating for electronic wills. Some states are reconsidering execution formalities to opt for more technologically-friendly will statutes. Electronic wills promise to be convenient and inexpensive, which means trhat planning may finally become accessible to all. But electronic wills pose challenges regarding authentication, fraud, and exploitation.
The function of will formalities is to ensure authentication. Robert H. Sitkoff & Jesse Dukeminier, Wills, Trusts, and Estates 141 (10th ed. 2017). Under traditional will formalities, every state requires a will to be written, signed by the testator, and attested. The first hurdle in creating any will is properly drafting it, and the second hurdle is properly executing the will. If a will is not properly drafted or executed, then it may be litigated and invalidated. With the demands of a society consumed with instantaneous services provided online, it is the task of the states to develop legislation on electronic wills that safeguards against abuse yet stays up to date with technology.