Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Unsent text considered legal will in Australia

EMOJI WILL:The wording of the text showed that the man was aware of the nature and extent of his estate ‘which was relatively small,’ the Brisbane court ruled

AFP, SYDNEY

A dead man’s unsent text message leaving his home and pension to his brother rather than his wife and son and signed off with a smiley-face emoji has been ruled a legitimate will by an Australian court.

The draft message, addressed to the man’s brother, was found on his cellphone after he took his own life in October last year, aged 55.

“The informal nature of the text does not exclude it from being sufficient to represent the deceased’s testamentary intentions,” Justice Susan Brown said when handing down her decision at the Brisbane Supreme Court.

The unsent text released by the court described how the man had become disgruntled with his wife.

“You and [nephew] keep all that I have house and superannuation, put my ashes in the back garden... [Wife] will take her stuff only she’s ok gone back to her ex AGAIN I’m beaten,” it read.

The message provided the man’s bank account details and was signed off “My will,” followed by the emoji.

The man’s wife said that it could not be accepted as a will since the message was never sent, but the court on Monday found that the wording of the text indicated the man’s intent to have it included in his will.

“The reference to his house and superannuation and his specification that the [wife] was to take her own things indicates he was aware of the nature and extent of his estate, which was relatively small,” Brown said.

The court said the deceased did not have any real contact with his son and a “rocky” relationship with his wife, although they did in the past enjoy “happier times.”

Despite the ruling, the judge found that the man’s wife could make a further application for the estate under family law.

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