Australia: Unsent text message on man’s phone qualifies as his will

Supreme Court of Queensland
Supreme Court of Queensland

The Supreme Court of Queensland in Australia has accepted an unsent, draft text message as a person’s official will.

The person in question was a 55-year-old man who took his own life in October 2016.

The text message, found in the drafts folder of the man’s mobile phone by one of his friends, included details on how to access his bank account and where he wanted his ashes to be buried, and specified that his wife should not inherit his house and superannuation.

The wife applied to the court to manage her late husband’s assets, arguing that the text message should be ignored as it was never sent.

However, Ms Justice Susan Brown said the man clearly knew what he was doing by ending the text with the words “my will”.

Christine Smyth, president of the Queensland Law Society and a specialist in succession law, told ABC News that the law was relaxed in 2006 to allow wills that did “not strictly comply with the legislation”.

However, she warned against others following the example.

Ms Smyth said: “As you read through this case, you get a sense of the amount of evidence that has to be produced to satisfy a court.

“If a person hasn’t drawn a formal will, there are some significant hurdles which must be overcome to establish that the document that looks like a will, is in fact, a will.”

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