July 12, 2016
Ohio judge validates a will written and signed on a tablet computer
Judge upholds will written on tablet, but urges law to be updated to address electronic wills.
An Ohio probate judge recently ruled that a will written and signed on a tablet computer is legal. The judge found that despite being written on a computer tablet, the will met the legal definition of a will in Ohio.
Last year, in late December, Javier Castro drafted a will while residing at Mercy Regional Medical Center. Because he lacked paper and pencil, his brother decided to write the will on his Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Subsequently, Javier signed the will with a stylus while his two brothers witnessed the signature.
In the event that a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate,” and state laws determine how and to whom the deceased’s assets will be divided. Had the judge not accepted the will as valid, under the intestacy laws of Ohio, Javier’s estate would have passed to his parents instead of the beneficiaries named in Javier’s will.
To be valid, a will must adhere to the legal requirements set forth by the state. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any person 18 years of age and of sound mind may create a will. The will must be in writing and signed by the testator and by two witnesses.
Despite upholding Javier’s will, the judge provided that he believes that the state legislature must update the law to address electronic wills. Furthermore, the judge provided that, “I can only think this is going to be utilized more and more, so it would be good to have some guidance.