Dead man's unsent text with emoji a legitimate will, Australian court rules

13 October, 2017, 18:40 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A text message counts as a will in Australian court

The message was found in the drafts folder on the man's phone after he took his own life past year.

A Supreme Court in Brisbane, Australia, ruled that an unsent text typed by a 55-year-old man, shortly before he took his own life, will be treated as his will. In a case like this, where his unsent text clearly asked his brother to "keep all that I have", was taken as his legitimate will.

The unsent text message was never sent but had important information that convinced the court that the man was using it as a will. It mentions a bit of cash behind the TV and a bit in the cash card pin, then ended with the words "my will".

The text described how the husband had become disgruntled with his wife.

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The man gave his bank details before signing off "my will" with a smiley face. In this photo, the outside of the Supreme Court of New South Wales is seen in Sydney on October 9, 2013.

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". In addition to that, the will-maker is also required to have "testamentary capacity", which means that he/she is not suffering from a "disorder of the mind or sane delusion". She also ruled that suicide does not count against the man's intention to have the text message operate as his will.

She explained amongst the factors that led to her decision was the fact that it was "created on or about the time that the deceased was contemplating death". Justice Susan Brown said the informal nature of the draft message did not stop it from revealing what the man wanted.

Brown said she was also aware of evidence indicating he and his wife had an unstable relationship, that he had no relationship with his son, and that they had broken up "just days" before he took his own life.

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