Electronic wills — the good and the bad

| Nov 1, 2019 | Probate

Living in a digital world, moving from paper to electronic documents seems to be a natural progression. There are times when doing so, however, may not sit quite right with some people. Electronic wills are a good example here, and there are those in Washington and elsewhere who can make a case for or against allowing them.

Currently, only two states have laws allowing E-wills — Washington is not one of them. At least two other states are considering adjusting their laws to allow for them. Many experts believe that it is only a matter of time before all states will approve the use of E-wills.

An E-will is something that a person can create without having to leave home. No documents are printed. Will review, signature collection and notarization all occur online. Documents are stored electronically when all is said and done. It seems awfully convenient, but at what cost?

Some believe that allowing the use of E-wills will increase the number of probate litigation cases filed. Why? It will be easier to claim that a person was coerced to sign, lacked mental capacity or was the victim of undue influence. This means that one’s wishes may not be honored in the end, if the will is deemed invalid.

The ease of electronic wills may not make up for the issues that can arise from using them. Only time will tell if moving to E-wills is worth it. If they ever do become legal in the state of Washington, those interested in using them would be wise to really weigh the pros and cons of doing so before moving forward. In the meantime, those interested in estate planning now can turn to legal counsel to write wills that fit their needs.