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‘iPhone Will’ Upheld In Australia

Document Prepared On App Granted Probate


A court in Australia has ruled that a Will typed into an iPhone can be deemed legally valid, in a move believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

At the end of last year, a judge in Brisbane heard the tragic case of a man who prior to committing suicide, wrote a Will on the 'Notes' app on his smartphone.

His brother went to court to argue that the document should be regarded in the eyes of the law as valid, despite the fact it did not comply with several legal requirements.

According to the Daily Examiner, the court ruled that the Will was created on the proviso that it would be treated as legal and therefore chose to grant probate to the document.

However, lawyers involved in the case told the newspaper that the ruling did not mean that other people should consider using mobile phones in order to prepare their own Wills.

Expert Opinion
In Australia the court has wide discretion in this area and is able to dispense with the formal requirements for the execution of a Will, so long as the court is persuaded that the document was intended to be the person's Will. In this case the Will was actually admitted to probate.

"It will be interesting to see whether these informal rulings have an impact on English law and it is easy to see how this could considering how reliant the public at large is on iPhones and other smartphones.

"However, like the lawyers in this case we would urge people to recognise how preparing a will on such a device could create a number of difficulties, particularly if there is no evidence of the Will being the testator's wishes and witnessed independently.

"We see an increasing number of cases which involve undue influence and mental capacity cases where there are arguments between families, even with very strict and formal guidelines for the preparation and execution of Wills.

"Whilst this approach may fit in with modern lifestyles, this could have significant consequences for families and loved ones if the formal rules are not followed.

"We would always urge those who are preparing a Will to take every possible step to ensure they mitigate the risk of disputes arising in the future. Seeking professional advice when drafting a will is vital and we would also suggest that people sit down with their loved ones to discuss the decisions they have made in the document.

"Being as clear as possible with friends and family is key to ensuring that they do not face time-consuming or costly legal battles in the future."
Paula Myers, Partner

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