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Estate and probate administration: No electronic wills in Florida

A technological advance is put on hold for the moment in the Sunshine State. Florida governor Rick Scott has vetoed the Electronic Wills Act. Citing vulnerabilities in the legislation, he encouraged the legislature to work on a more suitable bill. For now, estate and probate administration will be handled the traditional way in Florida,  using in person notaries and witnesses. 

The proposed law aimed to harness the power of electronic technology to assist in the witnessing and notarization of wills in order to increase access to will administration. The law also contained language that electronic wills of residents and nonresidents could be probated in Florida. Scott viewed the latter issue as something that could potentially cause an overload to local court systems. 

While the governor did not oppose the concept of electronic will administration, he argued that the legislation and technology has not been made secure enough. He recognized the competing concerns of ease of access and security and found the law to be lacking in security and legitimacy protection. Fears of fraud and exploitation led to his final veto. The original legislation would not have gone into effect until 2018. The governor has expressed that lawmakers should take that time to work on better legislation. 

One day, individuals may be using electronic technologies to assist in the witnessing and notarization of wills. In Florida, floridaelderlaw.net/Probate-Estate-Ancillary-Administrations/">estate and probate administration is often handled through an experienced elder law attorney. An attorney will be up to date on the most current estate legislation and will be comfortable leading others through the process. 

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Florida Governor Vetoes Electronic Wills Act", Craig R. Hersch, June 28, 2017

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