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Why a digital will may not hold up in court

| Sep 21, 2020 | Probate

Creating a will is often a complicated process that involves someone going to a lawyer’s office to discuss terms and then coming back later to sign a finalized draft in front of the attorney and a notary. That process exists for a reason.

The notary serves as a witness both to prove that the person is who they claim to be and also that they are of sound mind at the time that they sign. The attorney works to ensure that the terms of the will comply with state law.

Some people leave behind digital wills, which are electronic documents created using software or through a website. These digital documents may seem convenient, but they can cause a lot of problems. If your loved one left behind a digital will, it may not withstand scrutiny or challenges in probate court.

The problems with digital wills

Digital wills can seem like a quick and convenient solution for those who don’t want to meet with an attorney. However, people often create digital wills without any kind of legal advice and without any witnesses. The entire process lends itself to mistakes, fraud and undue influence.

Someone other than your loved one could have created the digital will that was left behind or altered it for their own benefit. This can be very hard to prove without witnesses. It’s also possible that someone such as a caregiver exerted undue influence and tried to secure terms in the will that would benefit them rather than reflect the wishes of the testator.

If your family worries that the terms of a will don’t seem to reflect the lifelong wishes expressed by your loved one, you may need talk with an attorney about whether challenging the will in probate court is the right approach.