Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoes Electronic Wills Act
The Electronic Wills Act for Florida was slated to go into effect on July 1. However, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the bill July 26, days before it would have been made law.
The act would have allowed for the use of remote technology to help in notarizing and witnessing a last will and testament. It also specified that all electronic wills of residents and nonresidents of the state would be allowed to be probated in Florida.
Justification for the veto
The governor said the bill did not have an appropriate balance between the making wills more financially accessible through new technologies and providing safeguards to protect people from fraud and exploitation. In his opinion, while remote notarization technology is meant to offer more widespread access to estate planning services, the provisions related to remote notarization in the bill do not adequately ensure the authentication of each party’s identity and do not complement the notary provisions as written in Chapter 117, Florida Statutes.
Scott also said that making Florida a possible venue for the probate of nonresidents could put undue burden on the state’s legal system. There would be the possibility that many probate cases would be taken on that did not have any relation to Florida, other than that the wills were created and stored in the state. Additional complications could occur if the state the decedent lived in did not recognize the validity of electronic wills.
The governor encouraged the legislature to make some adjustments to the bill that would take these issues into account and make more responsible use of the technology.
For more information on creating an electronic will in Florida, meet with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.