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Does an electronic will count as a valid will?

With technology influencing more areas of life, Nevada residents may wonder about its effect on estate planning. In the case of a will created, signed and stored on a computer, validity may be a concern due to the potential negative impact on the handling of one's wishes if such a document is later deemed invalid. The Nevada Revised Statutes define an electronic will as a will that is created and stored as an electronic record. It must contain the date of creation, and it must be electronically signed by the testator. This electronic signature must be confirmed by one or more authentication characteristics.

An electronic will must be stored according to certain guidelines. Only one authoritative copy may exist. Additionally, this copy must be controlled and maintained either by the testator or by a designated individual. The document must be created so that efforts to alter it can be easily identified. If other copies are made, they must be identified as copies that are distinct from the authoritative document.

Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to use an electronic will for disposition of all real and personal assets in their estate although the debts still owed by a testator may be charged to that estate. This type of will can be made in the state of Nevada or out of state, and it is deemed valid, carrying the same force that a formally executed will would have.

In considering the benefits of an electronic will, an individual may find the ease of access through a computer to be appealing as updates and review may be more convenient. However, it may still be important to discuss the details of an electronic will with a lawyer to ensure that issues such as probate or the potential for the will to be contested are considered.

Source: Nevada Legislature, "Electronic will", October 07, 2014

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