Dead man's unsent text with emoji a legitimate will, Australian court rules

Man's unsent text message with smiley face counted as a will

In a case like this, where his unsent text clearly asked his brother to "keep all that I have", was taken as his legitimate will.

Since the text was never sent and no one was aware of its existence until a friend of the deceased discovered it on his phone, the man's wife argued in court that she be given the right to manage her late husband's estate.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Australia, has declared the text message to be a valid will.

The man took his own life in October previous year. The message, found in the drafts folder of a deceased man's phone, indicated he wanted all his possessions to go to his brother and nephew, instead of his wife and son. She also ruled that suicide does not count against the man's intention to have the text message operate as his will. In this photo, the outside of the Supreme Court of New South Wales is seen in Sydney on October 9, 2013.

The courts in recent years have grappled with unusual cases involving informal wills. The witnesses too are required to sign the will in the presence of the will-maker.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Brown said there were a number of elements in the unsent text message that suggested it was a will, such as instructions on where his ashes will be placed, as well as an order that his wife "will take her stuff only".

The text message was just a draft.

She explained amongst the factors that led to her decision was the fact that it was "created on or about the time that the deceased was contemplating death".

Justice Brown said it was "uncontroversial" that the relationship between the couple, who had been married for a year and in a relationship for three years and seven months, "had problems" and the wife had left on at least three occasions.

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