Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
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At least one Ohio Probate Court has upheld a last will and testament made and signed on a tablet. Judge James Walther of the Lorain County Probate Court has admitted to probate an electronic will written and signed on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. The witnesses to the will testified in probate court in support of the will. In fact, at least six persons testified as to the validity of the will. No one objected to its admission. Even the parents of the deceased person did not object, despite the fact that pursuant to Ohio statutory law (ORC § 2105.06) they would have inherited all if there was no will.
The Court found that the tablet will constituted a “writing” and was properly signed under Ohio statute (ORC § 2107.03). The Court also found that the witnesses provided sufficient evidence to establish this “writing” as the deceased person’s last will and testament.
This was a case of first impression in Ohio and we are likely to see more of these types of wills. However, this does not mean this is a good way to make a will, at least at the present time. There are many possible pitfalls and practical problems with making a will on a tablet or other computing device. First off there is the problem of preserving the electronic will in an acceptable format. There is also the impracticality of having multiple witnesses available and willing to testify in support of such a will when the time comes. And other courts may disagree with Judge Walther’s ruling.
The court case referred to above was In re Estate of Javier Castro, Lorain County Probate Case No. 2013 ES 00140, June 19, 2013 Judgment Entry.