The Last Minute Will

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The Queensland Supreme Court was recently asked to decide whether an unsent SMS tapped by a person shortly before they took their own life amounted to an informal Will. An Informal Will is a document that doesn’t satisfy the strict requirements of a valid Will. The Court decided it did. In the SMS, the deceased referred to the words as being his “Will” and he set out quite detailed instructions in relation to how his property was to pass on his death. Even though the SMS hadn’t been sent, the Judge decided that the SMS represented his final testamentary intentions.

You might get a bit excited about how this could potentially save you expending the very reasonable cost of  a lawyer to do it for you properly. However, as is the case with many last minute attempts at a Will, the parties, including the deceased’s wife, were put to the expense and the uncertainty of having to go to Court for it to determine whether the SMS was a Will.  Needless to say, if he had seen a lawyer and done it properly, the cost of a court proceeding would not have been necessary. Even more, the cost of having a lawyer do it properly would have been significantly less than the costs of not doing it properly.

It just keeps emphasising the truism – the cost of doing nothing will always exceed the price of doing something.

Margaret Arthur
Our resident expert on the full gamut of life planning issues from guardianship, incapacity, disability and family disputes through to sophisticated estate planning and will challenges.