The Ministry of Justice issued the Fa-Lu-Zi 10803501680 Circular of February 13, 2019 (hereinafter, the “Circular”) to point out that the notes set forth in the requirements for notarized wills and dictated wills may be computer typed or prepared by an automated machine.
It was first pointed out in this Circular that Article 1194 of the Civil Code provides: “For making a dictated will, the testator must designate at least three witnesses, make an oral statement of his testamentary wishes, have it noted down, read over…” With respect to the requirement that one of the witnesses may be asked to take notes, the law does not stipulate the note-taking manners, and the focus of making a dictated will is on the clear expression of the gist of the will of the testator in writing through a note-taking witness. Therefore, although the drafting by a note-taking witness satisfies this requirement, if the note-taking witness prepares a draft which is subsequently typed up, this should be regarded to meet the legal requirement for the notes in order to meet current social circumstances. Therefore, the note-taking of a dictated will by one of the witnesses pursuant to the provision under Article 1194 of the Civil Code can be prepared with a computer to meet the requirements of an information society.
This Circular also pointed out that Paragraph 1 of Article 1191 and Article 1194 of the Civil Code indicate that the manners of notarized wills and dictated wills are actually not different in that they are both prepared through another person (a notary public or a note-taking witness) to take down the will orally dictated by a testator. Although the law is silent on the manners of “note-taking” by a notary public, the emphasis should be on the professionalism of a notary public concerning the legal relationship of a will, not on the determination of the authenticity of a will via the authenticity of penmanship. Therefore, in modern society with advanced technologies, personal handwriting is not the only way to depict words. A typewriter or a computer extensively used by the public for input and output can both create a document with the same effect as personally handwriting. Such document can be regarded as “notes” set forth in Article 1191 of the Civil Code.
Based on the foregoing explanation, this Circular held that the “notes” set forth in the requirements for notarized wills and dictated wills may be interpreted to be computer typed or prepared by an automated machine.