Ensure your affairs don't go down under, leaving the family with a terrible G'day post-death
It was reported in the news this week that Brisbane’s Supreme Court has held that a dead man’s unsent text message was an acceptable Will. The judge felt that the deciding factor in this case, was the inclusion of the words “my Will” within the man’s text message. This decision means that the deceased’s brother and nephew will receive the bulk of his modest estate, at the expense of his widow.
This decision appears to be contrary to Queensland Law, which requires that a valid Will must be signed in front of 2 witnesses who are over the age of 18. The Court’s decision, however, comes as a result of the relaxation of the law in 2006, which allowed that less formal types of documents may be considered as a valid Will.
Here in Scotland, unless there is an unprecedented and seismic change in the relevant legislation, such a decision would not happen under Scots Law. This is because a valid Will must, amongst other requirements, be signed by the testator (the person whose Will it is) in the presence of an independent witness.
Despite being from an Australian Court, this case is, nevertheless, a timely reminder of the difficulties and expense that can be caused when a person does not make their wishes clear via a professionally drafted Will.
If you would like us to review your current Will or affairs, or if you have any questions about your estate in general, please contact our expert Private Client team here at Clyde & Co and we would be delighted to help.
0131 524 2248