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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Judge upholds uncontested will written on android tablet

As technology advances, it touches on all aspects of our lives, including preparation of wills. I'm sharing a link below to a story from the Findlaw legal technology blog.

A man in a hospital in Ohio refused medical treatment and knew that this would lead to his death. He wanted to write a will, but as he didn't have paper handy, he wrote his will on his android tablet and signed it in front of two family members using the tablet's stylus. After his death, a judge had to decide whether this was a valid will. Like all jurisdictions, the law in Ohio requires that a will be "written", and the judge therefore had to decide whether this will was "written".

In this case, the judge held that it was a valid will. Click here to read the article for more detail.

In Canada, our body of law is based partly on our statutes that set out the law, and partly on the case law decided by the judges who interpret our statutes on a case-by-case basis. However, before anyone takes this new case as being a precedent, I want to give two cautions. One is that the case is American, so will have a reduced impact on our laws. Secondly, cases like this are fact-based and a different set of facts might produce a different result.

But it's a step in the direction of understanding how technology is going to be accommodated by the law. It's a sign that the law is prepared to move ahead and embrace new forms of wills.

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