A judge in Ohio was recently presented with a Last Will and Testament that was written and signed on a computer tablet. The judge found that the Will was legal.

Javier Castro went to the hospital and was told he needed a blood transfusion. Because of his religious beliefs, he refused the procedure. He then had a discussion with his brothers about what he wanted in his Will. Because there was no paper handy, one of the brothers wrote the Will on his computer tablet. Javier signed the Will and died one month later. His family printed out the Will and presented it to the probate court.

Is an Electronic Will Valid?

The judge noted that Ohio law requires a Will to be written, signed and witnessed. The judge noted that someone could carve a will into stone tablets with a hammer and chisel and sign it and it would be valid. The Ohio law did not have any specifics about how to handle an electronic will, but the Judge found that the Will on the computer tablet was written signed and witnessed. Javier’s brothers were able to testify about their discussions with him and that he intended the writing to be binding as his Will. Accordingly, the Judge upheld the Will.

The judge couldn’t find any evidence of a similar situation in any other state, but believed that computer Wills are likely to become more and more common. The Judge asked the Ohio State Legislature to update the law to provide rules for such electronic Wills.

What Does Michigan Law Say?

Since Michigan law does not give specific guidance about creating electronic Wills, it is not clear whether such a Will would be admitted in Michigan. So, please use your computer tablet to draft a Will only as a last resort.

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