Text messaging is a vital part of daily communication. We make appointments via text. We pay bills via text. We update loved ones via text.
The advent of and mass adoption of text messaging begs the question:
Is this text a valid will?
Arguably, the effort made behind it indicates that the person had mental capacity. The person clearly intended that the text communicate instructions on how to carry out wishes in the event of death. I could even argue that the digital signature of the text counts as a signature. However, the validity of this emoji will is far from the point.
There is SO much more to an estate plan than just leaving instructions for who gets what.
Who would oversee carrying out the instructions in this emoji will? What level of authority should that person have? What if grandma does not survive you? What if your spouse is disabled when you pass away? What if your children need a guardian? Who decides what money should be used for which education expenses for your child? What if you are just temporarily incapacitated? What if your sister tries to stop court proceedings on your emoji will?
These are all very important matters. Leaving unanswered questions in your will means that there will be added time and expense to get them answered by the court. In my experience, will templates found online (and even online “legal”, self-help websites where you pay a nominal fee) fail to address these important questions. An online will preparation site will probably be able to help you create a valid will, but I have yet to see an online template address all important questions.
When you work with an attorney to create your custom estate plan, you can share all your family drama, all your hopes and fears and all your financial concerns. After your personal consultation, an attorney will use experience and education to make sure all questions – and the ones that you never thought to ask – are answered.
If you would like to talk with an attorney here are Crain & Wooley, comment below or send us an email.