Digital Wills

Digital Wills May Seem Like A Good Idea, But Experts Say They Aren't

While it seems that everything is going digital these days, your last will and testament should not be among them, experts say.

While cloud-based storage services are an inexpensive way to store financial, legal and health-care documents online, it may cause you and your loved ones more of a headache than a convenience when it comes to your will.

“Some things should not go paperless, and your will is one of those things,” said Donna Jackson, attorney at law who specializes in full-service estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs trusts and more.

“It’s important that you have a notary and witnesses who can sign off to prove that you had the mental capacity to sign it.”

Throughout the country, some organizations are pushing to legalize e-signatures for wills and trusts, which would allow people to complete their will online without a lawyer or notary. 

Nevada and Indiana passed laws that allow e-signatures, and other states are moving to allow the same, but Jackson worries that online wills will create more problems than solutions.

What should you know when considering a digital will? 

  1. Digital wills are not recognized in Oklahoma. While these services exist in other states, Oklahoma has yet to adopt statutes that allow for digital wills and electronic signatures. You still have to have witnesses that can attest to your sound mind and a notary to make it official.

  2. Online wills could be easy to forge. Who’s to say that the DocuSign signature on that online will was actually placed there by you? Having no witnesses to sign means anyone could conceivably change your will or forge your signature.

  3. You’ll have to print it out anyway. Even if you do an online service, you still have to print out the will and have it signed by a notary and witnessed by two people. Otherwise, it’s not worth the computer paper it was printed on.

“These kinds of documents should never be paperless,” said Jackson. “Your will needs to be with an attorney. It shouldn’t be easy to fill out documents like this, because if it was, anyone could do it and they would be easy to forge.”

For more information, visit okcestatelawyer.com.

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