Florida lawmakers recently vetoed the Florida Electronic Wills Act, which would have legalized electronic wills throughout the state. Had it been passed, the bill would have allowed for the electronic creation of a will document, complete with e-signatures for testators, remote witnesses, and notaries to make the entire process virtual.
Despite measures such as those listed below, Florida Governor Rick Scott felt the bill lacked the proper safeguards necessary to protect the will-making process from fraud and exploitation. The vetoed bill would have required to following of custodians using the electronic will process:
- Custodians must be residents of Florida
- Custodians must have a system of storing electronic records, including wills
- Custodians must be able to provide the electronic will when required by the court
However, these safety measures proved to be insufficient for Governor Scott, who was quoted saying, “Rather than sign an imperfect bill into law, I encourage the Legislature to continue to work on answering these outstanding questions and address the issues comprehensively during the next legislative session.”
To date, Nevada is the only state to authorize electronic wills. The Nevada system includes retinal scans, fingerprints, and voice recognition to guard against fraudulent activity. Like the traditional paper will, an electronic will requires the signature of the testator in the presence of at least 2 witnesses, though the electronic will allows the witnesses to “witness” remotely.
For more information about this bill, visit the Florida Senate online.
At Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A. our firm offers a variety of estate planning services to better help you care for your family and loved ones. We can help with simple wills or complicated business succession plans, buy and sell agreements, trustee representation, and much more. If you are interested in learning more about our estate planning services, reach out to our lawyers.
For any questions about wills, contact Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A.