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Court rules that unsent text message is man's last will and testament

13 October 2017

Under the state's laws, a deceased's next of kin - such as a spouse - becomes the manager of his or her estate if a will is not prepared.

Another factor that worked against the wife's favor was the fact that she shared a "rocky" relationship with the deceased, leading up to his death and her son did not have much of a relationship with the deceased either.

The man committed suicide past year and the message was found shortly after his death.

The message, which included detailed banking information and a request to bury his ashes at a specific site, was found by a friend who was searching through the dead man's phone for clues.

In the message, the man gave details of how to access his bank account and where he had hidden money in his house. The wording also helped as the message ends with the words my will.

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The case went to court after his widow, supported by his son from a previous relationship, argued that the fact the message did not send was indicative that the man had not made up his mind. "Since the respondents stand to benefit if the text message is treated as a will, I have treated their evidence with caution and weighed it against all of the evidence".

According to the Australian government website Victoria Legal Aid, for someone's will to be valid, one is required to sign it in the presence of two witnesses.

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

"The informal nature of the text does not exclude it from being sufficient to represent the deceased's testamentary intentions", said Justice Susan Brown at the Brisbane Supreme Court.

"The terms of the text message and his specification that it was "my will" and that it addressed the disposition of his assets shows that the deceased appreciated the significance of what he was doing by creating the text message", she added.

Court rules that unsent text message is man's last will and testament