Smartphones sure make lives a lot easier (and, arguably, busier). With a few taps of a screen, individuals can do everything from checking the weather to buying stock to engaging in FaceTime across the world. One individual in Australia recently came up with another innovative use for his smartphone. He used it to prepare his Last Will and Testament shortly before taking his own life.
Are you already searching for the "Last Will and Testament" iPhone app? Not so fast. Let's first explore this controversial topic.
A recent article in The National Law Reviewtitled "Are iWills the Way of the Future?" tells the story of an Australian man who drafted a will on his iPhone. You read that right. He not only prepared his own will, but he actually titled the document as his last will and testament. Shortly thereafter the man committed suicide. This will was accepted as valid by an Australian probate court. The court found that under all the circumstances, there was sufficient evidence to believe the document was the man's will, but he did so on his smartphone.
Before you go rushing to type a will on your smartphone, however, you should understand that doing so is not wise. A probate court in the United States will most likely not accept such a will as valid.
Why? A court has no way of knowing whether a will on a phone was actually created by the deceased or whether someone else created it. In addition, the court might not be able to tell whether the will was tampered with. The original article points out other potential problems with such a smartphone-created will.
Someday, electronic wills and other estate planning documents might become standard. For now, the technology is still too new to rely on. The best way to create a will today is to visit an experienced estate planning attorney and have a will properly prepared on good, old-fashioned paper following all of the required legal formalities. After all, you do want your will to work when needed.
Reference: The National Law Review (September 19, 2014) “Are iWills the Way of the Future?”