Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

Are e-wills a good idea?

While they are currently not valid in California, it seems it is only a matter of time before electronic wills are acceptable under the law. There are some states where they already are legal. Because so much of life is electronic now and the state does allow some electronically produced legal documents, there is no doubt that one day the state will have to approve them.

However, there is concern about these wills and many good reasons why they are currently not valid. According to Forbes, electronic wills allow for a virtual signature. It is not in your own handwriting, which is a huge issue because the law does require you to sign your will in your own hand. It opens the door for many legal issues surrounding the validity of a will and the potential for fraud.

Difficulty handling complex issues

An e-will is generally a form. It is difficult to customize it to a complex situation. So, if you have significant assets, you may find this type of will does not offer you what you need to fully plan your estate. Furthermore, e-wills do not account for tricky situations, such as disinheriting an heir.

Lack of lawyer presence

One of the biggest issues with these wills is not that it is easy to produce by someone other than you but that you do not need legal representation to create them. You use software that creates the will for you and then interact only with a notary who notarizes your signature electronically.

Not having legal representation could put your will in jeopardy of the court not accepting it as valid. Furthermore, you lose the professional knowledge that an attorney can offer. These wills may work for a simple case, but most people do not realize their situation is complex until they get into the process, which requires an attorney’s guidance.

FindLaw Network