The Living Will in the Internet Age

The professors of Roman Law of the ULPGC, José Luis Zamora and Tewise Yurena Ortega ULPGC

Digital identity.

“There is a series of digital content, both the fingerprint and the digital heritage, which we normally forget about, and they may even have copyright, and when the person dies it is not known what happens to that heritage. The real problem is that there is a lack of regulatory development, although I understand that the notary is the most appropriate person to make a small addendum to the patrimonial content in the digital aspect, “said Professor Zamora. In this sense, the specialist in Roman Law focuses on the need for the decree to develop aspects of the data protection law, “because all this supposedly has to go with an administrative record. It is the new technologies that are causing this situation.

The vital document gains followers after the approval of the euthanasia law, by facilitating the procedures



José Luis Zamora adds that, in his opinion, the notary is the key figure to validate the digital legacy. «An effective post-mortem management of the decedent’s instructions is sought, and although many internet platforms offer their services to be able to dispose of our digital legacy, the truth is that they need the notary to give legal certainty, since, by far that we can use a Smart Will or intelligent testament, guaranteed with encryption and blockchain, each and every one of the aspects that affect the succession such as the capacity of the grantors or the possible conflicts between heirs, among others, cannot be ensured. The article also reflects that, although the ideal instrument is the one granted through the notary public, it could be carried out by other digital will documents, as is the case with Catalan law, or use the means of social networks such as, for example, the Legacy contacts, just like Facebook. “In any case, we will have to wait for the regulatory development provided for in the norm, although the door has been left open in the Law of Notaries, as it provides for the possibility of recording these acts in the face of imminent death in a note, memory or magnetic or digital medium lasting, the latter being valid as a testament ».


The researcher Tewise Yurena Ortega, points out in the article that as a result of the entry into force of the Organic Law regulating euthanasia, the living will takes on great importance by establishing a special procedure that exonerates the patient from complying with any of the requirements general requirements required by the standard, provided that the responsible physician certifies that the person is in fact incapacitated and in a euthanasia context. “It could be said that the living will has gained adherents after the euthanasia law was passed, because it is a fast track to circumvent the strict procedure established by this norm. A person who is in a euthanasia context due to an incurable disease, if you do not have a living will, would have to go through many procedures to request euthanasia. However, if you have a living will and you decide on euthanasia, at that time the doctor looks at your medical history, sees that you have the advance declaration of your will, and can directly apply it. Also the document of last wills can exonerate relatives and friends from assuming certain responsibilities, such as organ donation.

For experts, the notary is nominated as a key figure, to validate the legacy ‘online’



As a proposal for a future reform of the euthanasia law, the professors of the ULPGC consider that the legislator must recognize a period of validity for living wills with express pronouncements on euthanasia to guarantee, in any case, the will of the patient, ” since today we can be fully convinced that we want to include in said document a reference to the provision of help to die and, in a few years, think or wish the opposite, not being able to express it when we find ourselves incapacitated for it and, finally, to pay ourselves ».


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