The Cellphone Will
Can you type out your will on your cellphone?
According to an appellate court in Michigan, you can. In 2016, a 21-year-old man took his own life and left behind a short letter. In this letter, he stated that his “farewell note” was on his cellphone.
On his phone was a typed out message stating that he wanted his $100,000.00 trust fund, which was left to him by his late father, to go to his half-sister. He specified he wanted his trust fund to go her and only her—not his mother. The 21-year-old and his mother were estranged at the time of his death.
Despite his mother’s attempt to have the typed text ruled as an invalid will, the appellate court found that the contents of this text provided them with enough evidence of the 21-year-old’s last wish. Therefore, they held the text on the phone was a valid will.
This was an unusual holding for many reasons. Typically, laws governing the creation of wills are subject to strict compliance. This means that in order for a will to be valid, it must follow the laws of the state exactly.
In Arkansas, for a will prepared by the testator to be valid it must meet certain requirements. For example, one requirement is that the will must be handwritten, not typed, by the testator himself. Based on the laws in Arkansas, it seems unlikely the man’s “cellphone will” would hold up in one of our courts. As we move further and further into the digital age, this Michigan case begs the question of whether our laws should be modified to keep up with the changing times.
For information about drafting your will, contact Erin W. Lewis Law today.
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