Electronic Wills vs. Paper-Based Wills in Florida
Paper-based Wills are becoming a thing of the past as Electronic Wills have started to take over in Florida. As technology continues to grow, it has found new ways of transforming the legal space which has now expanded into estate planning. While this is exciting news, we still have to ensure that the probate process is done properly. Having a Qualified Custodian for your Electronic Will is crucial since these Wills are not self-proving.
BlueNotary has made it their mission to ensure that we have done the research for you and provide you with all the necessary information you need pertaining to having a Qualified Custodian for your Self-Proving Wills.
What is a Self-Proving Will?
Simply put, a Self-Proving Will is a Will that is witnessed by two or more individuals who can verify that it was actually signed by the creator of the Will (the testator/decedent) which is also done in the presence of a notary public. Compared to other legal documents, the evidence to guarantee its validity is minimal.
This makes the process faster, cost-efficient and reduces any disputes concerning the plausibility of the Will.
Electronic Wills in Florida
The Electronic Will Act (Florida Statute 732.521-732.529) was passed in 2020 permitting the creation of electronic Wills that have the same legal precedence as Traditional Paper Wills. As long as they meet the specific requirements such as an Electronic Signature, it will be just as effective.
Please note that an Electronic Will is not considered self-proving by default, even if it contains a notarized self-proving affidavit and meets all other requirements. Florida Statute 732.523 provides more details about what a Self-Proving Will should contain.
The Duties of a Qualified Custodian
One key component of a self-proving is having a Qualified Custodian designated on the document. A Qualified Custodian is an individual or company that is responsible for protecting and maintaining the Electronic Will.
The Electronic Wills Act details the specific criteria that a Qualified Custodian must meet:
- Being a resident of Florida or incorporated or organized under Florida law.
- Maintaining a physical office in Florida for providing custodial services.
- Providing the testator and the testator’s personal representative with access to the Electronic Will.
- Maintaining a system for the secure storage of electronic records, including protecting the records from unauthorized access and disclosure.
- Retaining the Electronic Will in a way that prevents tampering or unauthorized changes.
- Carrying cyber insurance to protect against hacking, data loss, and other digital threats.
Always check for these requirements to ensure that the individual or company is eligible to be a Qualified Custodian.
Getting a Trusted Qualified Custodian in Florida
A Florida Document Specialist is a qualified custodian of Electronic Wills in Florida, meeting all the requirements listed in the Electronic Wills Act.
By appointing Florida Document Specialists as your qualified custodian, you can guarantee that your Electronic Will is self-proving and protected against any potential problems during the probate process.
What Happens If an Attorney or Notary is Not Familiar with the Law?
Unfortunately, you may encounter attorneys and online notaries who are unfamiliar with the requirements of a Self-Proving Electronic Will. They have a will notarize a Will without a Qualified Custodian present. This oversight could lead to an increase in fees, delays and disputes among family members. Additional evidence will be required in cases of a defective Will. This would be presented to the court to be validated which would lead to more fees incurred and a longer waiting time to have the Will processed.
Working with a knowledgeable document preparation service and a reputable online notary service, when creating your Electronic Will is crucial in avoiding these problems. Through thorough research and choosing a qualified custodian like Florida Document Specialists, you can ensure your electronic will is self-proving and compliant with the Electronic Wills Act.
Qualified Custodian & Will Conclusions
Self-Proving Electonic Wills are now prominent in the state of Florida. This is an Electronic Will that is electronically notarized by a Florida Notary in the presence of a testator and two witnesses. This Will also has a designated Qualified Custodian such as a Florida Document Specialist who meets all of the requirements listed by the Electronic Wills Act.
It is crucial to ensure that the Attorney and Online Notary are aware of the requirements needed for a self-proving electronic will. Taking these necessary steps will save you time, money and ensure that the family members who are involved are satisfied.