Can I create an electronic will in Florida?

Feb 10, 2021

Paul S. Labiner

Paul Labiner

Managing
Partner

Yes. On January 1, 2020, the Electronic Will Law went into effect in Florida. Florida is just the fourth state in the country to enact such a law. Unfortunately, the name of the law alone does not fully capture what it accomplishes.

What’s at issue are not digital copies of original, physical Florida wills. What the law does is expand the process for creating a legally binding last will and testament by allowing execution, witnessing, and notarization to take place entirely online via video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype.

The testator can be in Miami, the witnesses on vacation in New York, and the notary at home in Naples, it doesn’t matter. This provides increased flexibility to Florida residents, snowbirds, older individuals, or people with restricted mobility to create (or update) legally binding wills.

However, partially because electronic wills are a relatively new phenomenon and very few states allow them, many aspects are still uncertain. Primarily, it remains to be seen what, if any, jurisdictions outside of Florida will accept electronic wills.

A potential situation could arise in which a Florida resident executed an electronic will, but then died some years later after relocating to a different state. Because estate planning is a complex process, it may be unwise to inject unpredictability into the process or risk possible probate litigation over a contested will.

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