“Put my ashes in the back garden…there’s a bit of cash behind the TV”
You may have read our recent article about the public consultation relating to reforming the law on making wills, in particular, whether electronic wills (such as by text) could be accepted as a valid will.
This may seem odd but in fact we could be considered behind the times as Queensland, Australia, changed its laws to allow less formal types of documents to be considered as wills back in 2006.
You may have seen in recent headlines that a court in Brisbane even accepted a draft and unsent text message as a valid will! The 55 year old man had composed a text message to his brother where he gave “all that I have” to his brother and nephew. He helpfully explained that there was a bit of cash behind the TV and some in the bank. The text then requested that his ashes were put in the back garden.
Shortly after composing the text message, the man in question committed suicide. The man’s wife argued that the text was not a valid will because it was not sent.
The court however upheld the text as a valid will because the wording of the text demonstrated that the gentleman intended the text to be his last will. The details that were set out showed that he was aware of the nature and extent of his estate, which was relatively small. The judge commented that the “informal nature” did not stop the text from being a will, particularly as the man was contemplating his death at the time of composition.
Courts in England and Wales are of course not bound by the decisions made in Australia. However, decisions such as this may influence law and policy making in this country. This is particularly so where there is a current public consultation on the law surrounding the making of wills in this country.
If you would like to speak to a member of the GA team about creating a will then contact the wills, trusts and probate team by calling 01752 203500. If you are wanting to dispute a will then please email me via anna.wonnacott@GAsolicitors.com or call me on 01752 513585.