All good estate plans in Florida have last wills and testaments, but a digital will is not something you can use. Digital wills, sometimes known as electronic wills, seem like a natural fit in today’s world of computers, tablets, and e-readers, but though the world of technology has moved ahead rapidly, the laws that apply to wills move much more slowly. If you created a last will and testament solely on your computer, you can’t rely on it because Florida law does not recognize it as a valid last will and testament. Here is what you need to know about digital wills and the role they can play in your estate plan.
Digital Will in Florida
There are only two states that currently recognize the validity of a digital will, but Florida is not one of them. Nevada legislators adopted a law several years ago that allows people in that state to create a digital will entirely on their computer. One other state, Ohio, allows for digital wills because a court has ruled that as long as a digital will meet the elements required under Ohio law, it too can be valid.
Regardless, everyone in Florida who wants to create a will have to go beyond their computers.
Creating a last will and testament in the state of Florida is not difficult. If you have created a digital document or a digital will, this can be a very good place to start. Through your last will and testament you state your preferences about how you want to leave your property behind, who you want to serve as guardian of a minor child, and who you want to serve as the executor of your estate. You can write down all of these choices in whatever form you want, and then bring a printout of those choices to your attorney. Your attorney will then be able to create a will for you. Once you review that document you can then sign it and do so in the presence of two adult witnesses as required under Florida law.
Computers have made it so easy to make documents nowadays that we don’t think twice about using them to create contracts, memorandums of agreement, and other legal documents. There are also many do-it-yourself companies that will tell you that you can make your own will on your computer.
Of course, you can make any document you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s a valid last will and testament. Using a do-it-yourself guide or template you find online is fine, but you absolutely need to run it by an experienced estate planning attorney in the state of Florida if you want to be sure your document is legally valid.