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Technology

Estates and Trusts

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Blockchain Wills, Bridget J. Crawford Jul 2020

Blockchain Wills, Bridget J. Crawford

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Blockchain technology has the potential to radically alter the way that people have executed wills for centuries. This Article makes two principal claims--one descriptive and the other normative. Descriptively, this Article suggests that traditional wills formalities have been relaxed to the point that they no longer serve the cautionary, protective, evidentiary, and channeling functions that scholars have used to justify strict compliance with wills formalities. Widespread use of digital technology in everyday communications has led to several notable cases in which individuals have attempted to execute wills electronically. These wills have had a mixed reception. Four states currently recognize electronic …