It goes without saying that you should have a will in place to help authorize how you want your property to be distributed after you pass away. But new information shows that you may not need a paper hard copy in order to demonstrate that your will is valid.
Some courts in Ohio have already held that digital wills are just as valid as paper copies, but Nevada has also authorized them already. Florida lawmakers are also currently considering whether or not these should be approved
One of the major arguments for digital copies is that drafting it becomes much easier, especially since most legal documents begin as a computer draft. In most states, wills must be printed and signed in order to be classified as valid. Confusion over the validity of a will could lead to a dispute and extended will contest hearings that make things more difficult for your beneficiaries.
In the Ohio court case that led to a judge’s ruling on paperless wills, an individual passed away without another will but had a draft on a Samsung tablet. The judge determined that even though the will had been signed by a stylus on the tablet, it had all the other necessary elements of a valid will in Ohio. The judge felt that this was simply a new medium on which a valid will could be recorded.
Ohio also has a law on the books requiring disinterested witness requirements. This means that multiple people who do not stand to benefit from the will have to be present when the will is signed. This mandate could help to eliminate allegations of an improper will when it is signed digitally.
Despite this development, it is in your best interests to schedule a consultation with an Ohio estate planning lawyer to talk in further detail about your needs related to estate planning and drafting a will.