Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

Wills have moved from oral to paper to digital





Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain- Blockchain Estate Planning




Will have moved from oral to paper to digital now.

But can we also store them on the Blockchain?


Prelude :

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

Blockchain is a comprehensive, up-to-date, digital ledger system that can record financial transactions to ownership of physical assets.

Every record is encrypted and time-stamped.

What makes blockchain so useful is the immutability, transparency and decentralisation of it.

The data stored cannot be changed or deleted.

Blockchain technology has the potential to radically alter the way that people have executed wills for centuries.

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 wills and the Uniform Law Commission has approved a model Electronic Wills Act.

By demonstrating how blockchain could make wills cheaper to prepare and less susceptible to tampering, this research also points to multiple other uses for blockchain in the legal profession, including the authentication of a chain of ownership, record-keeping and drafting of all kinds.

Even though lawyers have been slow to harness blockchain’s potential, the technology holds the promise to transform the practice of law into a form that will be unrecognizable to today’s lawyers.

Inheritances are a tricky subject as heirs end up quarrelling and fighting amongst themselves to get a bigger share of the inheritance.

These arguments usually pit family and friends against each other and can also be drawn out in court for an extended period of time.

With Safe Haven, all these issues of fighting and contesting an inheritance will not be few

sible due to the smart contract application intended for use.

Smart contracts define what happens and when on the blockchain and self executes without the need for a third-party intermediary such as an executioner or facilitator.

This point alone shows that the legal aspect of inheritances is being disrupted, and the client will be assured that his/her will is executed as they desired.

Lawyers can change their traditional career route and instead of going to work at law firms, they can enter the cryptocurrency sector and join the TAN (Trust Alliance Network), and foster a career in the legal sector, in a new emerging market.

They’ll have the huge benefit of being the first lawyers in the space, thus claiming market share and gaining valuable experience as time goes on, which will allow them to earn more SHA tokens for their work.

That is why Safe Haven is such a great project.

Everything in the world is switching to digital – Interfaces, communications, social etc.

It’s only a matter of time before current inheritances switch as well.

What are smart contracts?

Smart contracts are a form of software programmes embedded onto blockchains that can receive and send assets and information.

Smart contracts are often automated or self-executing.

The Law Commission has referred to smart contracts as ‘the technology which runs on blockchain and by which legal contracts may be executed automatically.

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

Understanding wills?

A Will is a legal document in which a person clearly states who should receive their possessions after they die.

Dying without a Will leads to complications as the person is said to have died ‘intestate’.

This means that the person’s assets and possessions will be divided according to the state’s legal calculations rather than their own wishes.

What is astonishing is that almost 60% of the adults in the UK do not have a legal Will in place.

Most people delay their Wills to until they are older while others simply assume they don’t have enough to be passed on.

Hence, not having a Will leads to delays, exorbitant expenses and endless family battles.

In Ancient Rome, Wills were made in Public in presence of seven witnesses. That meant that everyone knew of the person’s intentions and it could not be changed.

These were known as nuncupative (or oral) Wills, but the risk of trusting the Will of the deceased to the memory of the living soon abolished these and all Wills were ordered to be in writing.

In 1540, the Statute of Wills was put in place by the Parliament of England.

Prior to this Act, the estate was passed on to the Crown, in case the landowners did not have any competent living relatives.

This Act challenged the powerlessness of the landowners by stating that owners had the right to determine who the beneficiaries will be by permitting device by Will.

Growth of literacy enabled the Wills to be wr The Statute of Wills was revised during the American Revolution that gave rise to the Wills Act of 1837.

The Wills Act gives the power to every adult to dispose of their property as per their wishes. The act extends to testamentary dispositions or gifts as well.

The Will under the Act has been to made in writing and signed by witnesses.itten rather than oral.

Modern Wills follow the amended version of the Wills Act of 1837 known as the Wills Act 1963. The act ensures the Will is executed in line with the law of the state where the testator resided, rather than automatically imposing UK law to all Wills.

Modern Wills are usually produced by attorneys on computers, printed out and signed by the testator.

The Will has to be signed in the presence of two witnesses who can’t be a part of the Will in order to make sure it is legally acceptable.

In order to make any changes in the Will, especially in the UK, a repetition of the whole process is done through an official modification called a ‘Codicil’.

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

Types of Wills

There can be various types of Wills according to the person’s requirements and wishes. The most common types of Wills that are in practice are as follows :

  1. Single Will These Wills are designed for individuals and is one of the most common types of Wills. The Single Wills indicate who will inherit the property according to the deceased’s wishes along with stating the witnesses and executors.
  2. Mirror Will Mirror Wills are mainly designed for couples who wish to write similar Wills. They are two separate Wills which set out identical wishes and hence, mirror each other.
  1. Discretionary Trust Will

A type of Trust Will, the discretionary can be written to leave one’s assets or part of the assets to a trust.

The Will includes information about the trustees and beneficiaries.

Trustees act as executors and can be given total discretion over how and when the potential beneficiaries receive their shares.

2. Property Trust Will

The Property Trust Will allows one to create a Trust that looks after one’s property.

This means the Trust can benefit from the property during the lifetime of the person writing the Property Trust Will but at his death, it is passed on to the family of the deceased.

This takes care of the long-term care fees of the property.

The most common problem, however, is the falsification and forgery of Wills along with the ease of destroying the paper.

These include both, forgery of documents by purporting to be a Will as well as forgery of signatures. As Dorothy Leigh Sayers, the renowned English crime writer and poet once said,

Electronic Wills

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

The world is now moving to digital.

There are more mobile connections than people on the planet.

Communications, social and political exchange, commerce, media and entertainment, everything is moving to the digital landscape with a society moving to paperless.

Wills are now moving into this digital age as well.

Electronic Wills is a new form of digital documentation.

These Wills are convenient and cater to the problems faced by paper Wills.

Electronic Wills, also called Willis, are secure, quick and legally valid. Clear asset allocation helps avoid misunderstandings and prevent disputes.

State of Nevada in the US is the only state that provided the specific statute for using Electronic Wills.

The Nevada Electronic Wills statute requires that a testator’s Will must be “written, created and stored in an electronic record.” It must also contain testator’s online signature.

The Electronic Will has various advantages over the Paper Will. Storing the will is easier and it is very convenient to create the Will.

There is also an option to record a video Will that makes it even more credible.

Modification of the Will is less of a hassle as compared to the paper Will and it can be changed readily.

However, technology comes with its own drawbacks.

Tampering is a big issue when it comes to electronic documentation — be it voting or Wills. There is a greater risk of theft of private information and internet fraud.

Hacking is a possibility that cannot be overlooked and hence, in Nevada, to circumvent this, a separate hardcopy of the Will is meant to be printed and left in safe custody.

  Blockchain-enabled Wills

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain: The digital economy, as we know it today, like credit card information and financial records are stored on centralized databases.

The inherent nature of these is such that they are opaque and vulnerable to hacking.

Blockchain — the ingenious invention — store information in a decentralized form where information is parcelled up in blocks.

The data is distributed in the peer-to-peer network giving its access to everyone on the Blockchain.

If anyone adds a new block to this chain, every one of the networks is notified and has a copy. What makes the distributed ledger so attractive is their resistance to modification, transparency and security.

Any changes in the transactions are easily flagged by the system.

Blockchain does not require third-parties for transactions which reduce financial costs.

Blockchain is the technology behind digital currencies which are popularly knowns cryptocurrencies are formed on the basis of cryptography.

According to the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, the legal industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors when it comes to Blockchain.

Blockchain, being un-hackable, makes it attractive for storing information and documents.

The ‘Proof of existence’ which acts as a public notary that demonstrates data ownership and examines the integrity of the document makes verification easier.

Lawyers are freed from trivial tasks and hence, can leverage more time on legal insights.

It helps them draft contracts, store data on transactions and make authentication easier.

How could blockchain make lives easier for families?

Wills and Testaments on the Blockchain

The short answer is that wills can be written onto a blockchain.

Electronic wills on a blockchain, also known as ‘crypto will, are already being created.

People are accumulating a lot of digital wealth these days which can be lost forever after the key holder dies.

The reason for this is due to the secure nature of the blockchain which makes it inaccessible by anyone except the key holder.

If the keyholder dies without sharing their private key, their assets on the blockchain cannot be retrieved.

Therefore one solution to this is to write your will onto the blockchain which could be automatically executed via smart contracts.

The testator can list their assets and private key on their will but this wouldn’t be accessible to anyone except the beneficiaries.

This makes it much safer and secure than a traditional paper will, which could get lost or tampered with.

Safe Haven, for example, gives users the opportunity to secure digital assets so that the investor’s legacy can be passed down to their beneficiaries safely and securely.

Crypto-Wills are Wills that are created and documented on Blockchain and one of the latest developments in the Blockchain legal industry.

As observed, Crypto-Wills are far more efficient and quicker than traditional Wills.

The end-to-end process of the Will administration is carried out by a code-run software that is distributed and decentralized.

The Wills are secure than ever given the cryptographic nature of the process and the unique characteristic of immutability.

The testator can make a Crypto-Will by listing down the beneficiaries, assets and execution process.

Since everyone on the Blockchain knows about the existence of the Will, it is very pubic and cannot be lost or changed.

However, it is also very private in the sense that every beneficiary along with the testator is represented by a crypto-address.

Nobody except the beneficiaries will be able to decode the address.

If anybody tries to make changes in the Will, everybody on the Blockchain would be notified along with the time and location of the change.

Post the testator’s death, the Will or Testament would be executed automatically.

The automatic execution makes it very convenient by reducing legal costs and saving time. Since there are no third-parties involved, the likelihood of feuds and conflicts is less.


Did reading my articles and research come to the conclusion that blockchain has something to do with our lives?

It’s like telling you what the dollar has to do with life!!




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