Would Digital Wills Encourage More People to Engage in Estate Planning?
Most studies indicate that half or more of Americans do not have a will in place. The reasons why Americans do not write (or update) their wills vary. Some people simply do not like having to think about their death and how they want to pass on their assets. Others find the process of making estate planning decisions emotionally draining or difficult, or have disagreements with their spouses and other loved ones.
Perhaps the most common reason is that many people find the process of actually writing or updating a will to be inconvenient. Traditionally, the process has involved visiting an attorney’s office and spending time discussing various issues and composing the document.
In an increasingly paperless world, there is the belief that digital wills could at least solve the issue of inconvenience as it relates to estate planning, as well as encourage more people to be proactive.
How do they work?
Digital wills are still relatively new in the estate planning world. They are legally authorized in Nevada and have been the subject of considerable discussion in Florida. Governor Rick Scott vetoed the Florida Electronic Wills Act last summer. He found that the risk of fraud is just too great in the state of current technology, but it’s likely we will see similar efforts in the near future.
Digital wills are not just wills that are drafted online. They simply do not need to be physically printed and signed. Getting everyone together for signing a will in front of a notary can be a burdensome process, which is one of the reasons why people have started to favor electronic versions.
The future of digital wills is up in the air, but if they start being used on a more widespread basis, they could increase the number of people who actually take the time to engage in estate planning. In the meantime, you are better off with a traditional paper will, but keep your eye on the future.
To learn more about setting up a will or trust, meet with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.