Australian Court decides a text is a Will

The widow of a man who took his life applied to the courts in Australia to be appointed to administer his estate. His brothers contested the case on the basis that an unsent text found on his phone was sufficient to constitute his Will. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court in Queensland.

The text read:

“Dave Nic you and Jack keep all that I have house and superannuation, put my ashes in the back garden with Trish Julie will take her stuff only she’s ok gone back to her ex AGAIN I’m beaten. A bit of cash behind TV and a bit in the bank Cash card pin 3636
My will”

Despite Mrs Nicholl, his widow arguing that her late husband had died intestate and, as such, she was entitled to be appointed, the Supreme Court ruled against her. The Court decided that the text was sufficiently clear to indicate the deceased’s intentions and despite not being sent or signed, could be considered his Will.

The legal interpretation in Scotland

The rules in Australia regarding Wills were relaxed some years ago. This can’t happen in Scotland as there aren’t any provisions that would allow for a digital Will. However, the Law Commission in England is conducting a consultation into Wills and how these might be constituted and this will take into account current technology. You can view that Consultation here.

If you would like to read the Australian Supreme Court judgement, please click here.

We continually remind our clients that it pays to be organised and to prepare for the inevitable so if you haven’t yet done so – contact us today and make your Will.