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Electronic wills coming to Florida in 2020

In the age of technology almost everything within reason is available online or electronically. Many people easily access their bank accounts through phones or computers. Recent advances in technology even allow individuals to pay for items electronically.

Nowadays, electronic wills could even allow individuals the opportunity to declare their final wishes electronically.

What are electronic wills?

Forbes reports that the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) recently gave its approval for the Uniform Electronic Wills Act. Essentially, this would allow individuals to:

  • Create and sign their will online;
  • Receive validation of their will electronically; and
  • Store their validated will in an electronic format.

Not only has the ULC approve the use of electronic wills, a new Florida law also recognizes the existence of electronic wills.

Electronic wills might be a sign of the times, but individuals should consider all options when creating their will. After all, effectiveness should always be more important than convenience when it comes to personalized estate planning.

Electronic wills might be convenient, but they could also be risky

In past blogs we’ve discussed the risks involved in writing your own will. It is important to note that those risks and others could still arise with electronic wills – especially if individuals do not consult an experienced attorney when developing their estate plan. There are three particular risks that electronic wills could pose to individuals and their families:

  1. Electronic wills might not be appropriate or effective for individuals who have significant assets;
  2. Disputes or will contests between family members may be more likely during the probate of an electronic will; and
  3. Individuals might not be able to create or store other important estate planning documents – such as a trust or advance directive – with their electronic will.

Estate planning is a very important and personal process. Individuals and their families want assurance that their estate plan effectively meets their particular needs, carries out their last wishes, and looks out for the best interests of all involved. It is critical to approach estate planning with careful thought and the advice of a legal professional, not just convenience.

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