The Queensland Supreme Court has recently validated two informal
and unconventional wills created using modern technology.
Generally a will that does not comply with the usual formal
requirements is not valid, and the Court has discretion in some
cases to accept an informal will.
In Re Yu, the Court validated a will written by the
deceased on his iPhone, and in Mellino v Wnuk, the Court
held that a video recording on a DVD marked 'my will'
showing the deceased discussing his wishes constituted a valid
will. In both cases, the will makers sadly committed suicide.
However, these cases should not be viewed as an opportunity to
create wills via similar means. In Re Yu and Mellino v
Wnuk, the Court approved the wills only after careful
consideration of the circumstances.
There are strict requirements in the relevant legislation that
must be met for an informal will to be approved, and if they are
not met, then it will not be valid. Essentially, it was simply a
matter of luck in both of these cases that the informal wills
complied with the legislative requirements.
It is also important to remember that a will cannot deal with
assets outside of your estate, including assets in a family trust
and your superannuation. So it is especially dangerous to attempt
to manage your own estate planning by creating an informal
arrangement like these if you hold assets in structures outside of
To discuss your estate planning and ensure that your assets are
distributed in accordance with your wishes when you die, contact
our estate planning team.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
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