This June, an Ohio probate judge ruled that a will written and signed on a tablet computer is legal. The judge concluded that the will, despite being written on a computer tablet, met the legal definition of a will in Ohio.
Late December of last year, Javier Castro resided at Mercy Regional Medical Center and he decided to draft a Will. Since he did not have a paper and pencil readily available, Javier’s brother decided to write the will on his Samsung Galaxy tablet. Subsequently, Javier signed with will using a stylus as his 2 brothers witnessed the signature.
If a person dies without a will they are said to have died “intestate,” and state laws will determine how and to whom the person’s assets will be distributed. If the judge did not accept the will as valid, under the intestacy laws of Ohio, Javier’s estate would have passed to his parents instead of the beneficiaries provided under Javier’s will.
A will must meet the legal requirements set forth by the state in order for it to be valid. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any person 18 years of age and of sound mind may make a will. The will must be in writing and signed by the testator and by two witnesses.
Even though the judge made the decision to uphold Javier’s will, the judge provided that he believes that the state legislature needs to update the law to address electronic wills. The judge further provided that, “I can only think this is going to be utilized more and more, so it would be good to have some guidance.”
Todd C. Ratner, Esq.
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