A Smorgasbord of Technology
We continue to see the interconnection between estates and technology. I recently came across two articles, both from the west coast, which further advance this relationship.
Crowdsourcing in California
California is in the process of amending their probate code, and has asked individual citizens for their comments. However, the manner in which the State is obtaining people’s recommendations is quite forward-thinking. A state legislator is relying on an online wiki in order to obtain people’s opinions on the basis that, “…too often, special-interest groups draft legislation. In contrast, crowdsourcing a bill on the wiki platform will allow for a fully transparent brainstorming, drafting and editing process that will incorporate ideas from a large group of people”. Apparently, this is the first purely crowdsourced piece of legislation in the United States.
As estate lawyers, we are constantly reading and reviewing the law. Having the opportunity to provide input as to what works and what does not (in our purely subjective opinion), is a truly innovative way in relying on the collective wisdom of the public.
Virtual Wills in British Columbia
Closer to home, the British Columbia Wills, Estates and Successions Act comes into force on March 31, 2014. According to the BC Ministry of Justice, one of the benefits of the new act, is to provide the courts with more latitude to ensure a deceased person’s last wishes are respected. Specifically, section 58 allows the court to provide relief if a person has failed to comply with all the formal requirements of making a will. Types of documents that may be recognized as wills include, ‘wills stored electronically’.
It will be very interesting to see how the courts will interpret this provision. One article (albeit, out of the United States) suggests that the court will recognize wills made by e-mail.