Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Alteration and Revocation of Electronic Wills

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has published its final report on the Alteration and Revocation of Electronic Wills.

This comes as a companion to the ALRI's 2023 report on the Creation of Electronic Wills.

"ALRI recommends that the alteration and revocation of electronic wills should be governed largely by the same rules currently found in Alberta’s Wills and Succession Act (“WSA”), with additional witness requirements for certain acts of revocation (...)"

"What is the problem?
Testators should be able to change or alter their electronic will after it has been created. Similarly, testators should be able to revoke an electronic will. However, electronic wills present a unique challenge. Unlike a pen mark on a paper will, it is harder to identify when an electronic will has been altered or revoked by a key stroke. It is also harder to identify whether or not the person making the changes actually intended them to alter or revoke their electronic will. To ensure the law properly supports people changing or revoking electronic wills, these issues must be adequately addressed. Additionally, the rules surrounding electronic wills should reflect the expectations of testators to ensure that the probate system continues to function justly and efficiently."

"Legal Research
ALRI conducted in-depth legal research for this project. That research included a review of the current wills law in Alberta, and comparative research with other jurisdictions. The review of Alberta law provided ALRI with a background on the formalities required to alter or revoke a paper will under the WSA, and the purposes those formalities serve. ALRI’s comparative research provided insight into how other jurisdictions have adopted formalities for the alteration or revocation of electronic wills that continue to serve these same four purposes. In both circumstances, the formalities for the alteration or revocation of a will are intended to:

  • protect testators and their estates,
  • provide evidence of testamentary intention,
  • channel estates through probate justly and efficiently, and
  • provide a sense of ritual to highlight the importance of changing or revoking a will."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:06 pm


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