Australian Court accepts unsent Text Message as a Valid Will

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Wills and Probate Ison Harrison

The BBC has recently reported on an Australian case, in which the Supreme Court of Brisbane has accepted a draft text message as a valid will. Found in the drafts folder of his mobile phone after his death, the man left ‘all that I have’ to his brother and nephew. He also left detailed banking information, as well as instructions as to where his ashes should be scattered. The message was concluded with the words ‘my will.’

Australian media reports state that the man’s wife made an application to manage the man’s assets, on the basis that because the text had never actually been sent, it could not be a valid will.

Justice Susan Brown is quoted as saying that the ‘informal nature’ of the message did not mean that it could not represent the dead man’s wishes, particularly given the fact that it was ‘created on or about the time that the deceased was contemplating death.’

I have written before on the proposals that the Law Commission in this country has made in relation to changing the existing rules surrounding wills, including their format. Their suggestions would see texts and emails being accepted as valid wills ‘in exceptional circumstances.’

Some may feel that the law should automatically take account of changes in technology, but the current way of doing things provides crucial safeguards. Texts that are in draft form may just represent a fleeting thought, which a person decided not to act upon. A written will, drawn up and witnessed in the usual way, provides certainty- a text or email in a draft state cannot.

The best way to gain peace of mind will always be via a professionally drafted Will. Our competitive fees start at £125.00 plus VAT for a single will and from £175.00 plus VAT for mirror wills. If you have yet to make a will, call us today on 0113 284 5000 for a free, no-obligation chat.

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