An unsent text message has been accepted as an official Will by an Australian court. A 55-year-old man composed the message addressed to his brother, in which he gave “all that I have” to his brother and nephew. It was accepted as a last Will and testament in a Brisbane court despite not being sent.
Usually, Wills in Queensland are required to be signed or witnessed.
The message was found in the drafts folder on the man’s phone after he took his own life last year. In the message, the man gave details of how to access his bank account and where he had hidden money in his house. “Put my ashes in the back garden,” he wrote. “A bit of cash behind TV and a bit in the bank.”
The case reached court because the man’s wife had applied to manage his assets, arguing that the text message was not valid as a will because it had not been sent. However, the judge concluded the “informal nature” of the message did not stop it representing the man’s intentions.
In 2006, the law in Queensland was changed to allow less formal types of documents to be considered as a will. The UK is also considering relaxing its own rules where the deceased wishes are clear, so this may yet be a story that plays out again in the UK in the foreseeable future.