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The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title XLII
ESTATES AND TRUSTS
Chapter 732
PROBATE CODE: INTESTATE SUCCESSION AND WILLS
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F.S. 732.524
732.524 Qualified custodians.
(1) To serve as a qualified custodian of an electronic will, a person must be:
(a) Domiciled in and a resident of this state; or
(b) Incorporated, organized, or have its principal place of business in this state.
(2) A qualified custodian shall:
(a) In the course of maintaining custody of electronic wills, regularly employ a secure system and store in such secure system electronic records containing:
1. Electronic wills;
2. Records attached to or logically associated with electronic wills; and
3. Acknowledgments of the electronic wills by testators, affidavits of the witnesses, and the records described in s. 117.245(1) and (2) which pertain to the online notarization.
(b) Furnish for any court hearing involving an electronic will that is currently or was previously stored by the qualified custodian any information requested by the court pertaining to the qualified custodian’s qualifications, policies, and practices related to the creation, sending, communication, receipt, maintenance, storage, and production of electronic wills.
(c) Provide access to or information concerning the electronic will, or the electronic record containing the electronic will, only:
1. To the testator;
2. To persons authorized by the testator in the electronic will or in written instructions signed by the testator with the formalities required for the execution of a will in this state;
3. After the death of the testator, to the testator’s nominated personal representative; or
4. At any time, as directed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(3) The qualified custodian of the electronic record of an electronic will may elect to destroy such record, including any of the documentation required to be created and stored under paragraph (2)(a), at any time after the earlier of the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the administration of the estate of the testator or 20 years after the death of the testator.
(4) A qualified custodian who at any time maintains custody of the electronic record of an electronic will may elect to cease serving in such capacity by:
(a) Delivering the electronic will or the electronic record containing the electronic will to the testator, if then living, or, after the death of the testator, by filing the will with the court in accordance with s. 732.901; and
(b) If the outgoing qualified custodian intends to designate a successor qualified custodian, by doing the following:
1. Providing written notice to the testator of the name, address, and qualifications of the proposed successor qualified custodian. The testator must provide written consent before the electronic record, including the electronic will, is delivered to a successor qualified custodian;
2. Delivering the electronic record containing the electronic will to the successor qualified custodian; and
3. Delivering to the successor qualified custodian an affidavit of the outgoing qualified custodian stating that:
a. The outgoing qualified custodian is eligible to act as a qualified custodian in this state;
b. The outgoing qualified custodian is the qualified custodian designated by the testator in the electronic will or appointed to act in such capacity under this paragraph;
c. The electronic will has at all times been in the custody of one or more qualified custodians in compliance with this section since the time the electronic record was created, and identifying such qualified custodians; and
d. To the best of the outgoing qualified custodian’s knowledge, the electronic will has not been altered since the time it was created.

For purposes of making this affidavit, the outgoing qualified custodian may rely conclusively on any affidavits delivered by a predecessor qualified custodian in connection with its designation or appointment as qualified custodian; however, all such affidavits must be delivered to the successor qualified custodian.

(5) Upon the request of the testator which is made in writing signed with the formalities required for the execution of a will in this state, a qualified custodian who at any time maintains custody of the electronic record of the testator’s electronic will must cease serving in such capacity and must deliver to a successor qualified custodian designated in writing by the testator the electronic record containing the electronic will and the affidavit required in subparagraph (4)(b)3.
(6) A qualified custodian may not succeed to office as a qualified custodian of an electronic will unless he or she agrees in writing to serve in such capacity.
(7) If a qualified custodian is an entity, an affidavit, or an appearance by the testator in the presence of a duly authorized officer or agent of such entity, acting in his or her own capacity as such, shall constitute an affidavit, or an appearance by the testator in the presence of the qualified custodian.
(8) A qualified custodian must provide a paper copy of an electronic will and the electronic record containing the electronic will to the testator immediately upon request. For the first request, the testator may not be charged a fee for being provided with these documents.
(9) The qualified custodian shall be liable for any damages caused by the negligent loss or destruction of the electronic record, including the electronic will, while it is in the possession of the qualified custodian. A qualified custodian may not limit liability for such damages.
(10) A qualified custodian may not terminate or suspend access to, or downloads of, the electronic will by the testator, provided that a qualified custodian may charge a fee for providing such access and downloads.
(11) Upon receiving information that the testator is dead, a qualified custodian must deposit the electronic will with the court in accordance with s. 732.901. A qualified custodian may not charge a fee for depositing the electronic will with the clerk, provided the affidavit is made in accordance with s. 732.503, or furnishing in writing any information requested by a court under paragraph (2)(b).
(12) Except as provided in this act, a qualified custodian must at all times keep information provided by the testator confidential and may not disclose such information to any third party.
(13) A contractual venue provision between a qualified custodian and a testator is not valid or enforceable to the extent that it requires a specific jurisdiction or venue for any proceeding relating to the probate of an estate or the contest of a will.
History.s. 35, ch. 2019-71.