Electronic Signature Gets Bonus Points

According to this story out of Ohio, a probate judge ruled that a will signed on a tablet is valid.

The judge “wrote that on Dec. 30, [Javier] Castro had a discussion with two of his brothers, Miguel Castro and Albie Castro, about a will and because they did not have any paper or a pencil, they decided to write the will on Albie Castro’s Samsung Galaxy tablet.” The article notes that Nevada recognizes electronically signed wills, but Ohio, like many other states, I presume doesn’t specifically approve of electronic wills.

The digital signature revolution is on us, folks. Although it’s doubtful, state legislatures will presumably have to address these issues.

Oklahoma recognizes holographic wills, if they meet the “traditional” requirements:

  1. It must be written entirely in the testator’s handwriting.
  2. It must be dated.
  3. It must be signed by the testator.
  4. It must express testamentary intent.
  5. It must be made by a person who has testamentary capacity.

Arguably, at least according to the facts in the article, Castro’s will meets Oklahoma’s provisions.

I’ve discussed tablet signatures and handwriting apps, so their power and usability for attorneys isn’t too significant, in my opinion. My biggest question is whether estate planning attorneys are willing to counsel “death bed” testators to draft and sign holographic wills. What do you think? Will holographic wills done on tablets catch on, at least in a pinch?

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.