PA Will Drafting and Electronic Wills

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By: Lisa Vari on Google+

A probate court in Ohio recently addressed the issue of whether a Will drafted on a Galaxy electronic tablet was a valid Will. This issue is a novel issue in court systems throughout the country, as Wills being drafted via cell phones, electronic tablets, and the like are now being upheld as valid Wills. Our blog today will discuss a recent case in Ohio and how a Pennsylvania court may have handled this Wills issue.

A man in Ohio was told by doctors that needed a blood transfusion in order to survive. The man declined treatment for the transfusion, as he is a Jehovah’s Witness. Prior to his death, the man told his two brothers that he wanted to draft a Will. Because there was no pen and paper in the vicinity at the time, the brothers decided to draft the Will on a Galaxy Tablet. Later that same day, the man “signed” the Will using the stylus pen for the Galaxy Tablet. The man’s two brothers allegedly witnessed the man signing the Will.

In deciding this issue, the Judge looked to the language of the statute in Ohio which reads that a valid Will “shall be in writing, but may be handwritten or typewritten.” The Will also must be signed and witnessed to be valid in Ohio. This Will, written on a Galaxy Tablet, was upheld by the Court as meeting all of the statutory requirements, even though it was written in a new medium not previously recognized as “in writing.”

The issues that arise with this type of “written” will involve potential manipulation of the files on the electronic device and whether or not the signature is valid and/or whether it is actually the signature of the Testator?

Pennsylvania Will must meet the following requirements in order to be valid: the will must be drafted by someone over the age of 18, signed at its end, and must be in writing to be valid. Therefore, it is likely that a PA judge would address this issue of validity in the same way, as the Ohio and Pennsylvania Wills requirements are similar.

Have questions about drafting a Will in PA? Contact our experienced Pittsburgh Wills & Estates Attorneys today!