Will done on iPhone before owner took his life ruled valid
IN what may be a legal first in Queensland, and possibly Australia, a Brisbane court has ruled a will typed into a mobile phone before the owner took his own life is legally valid.
But estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young, who sought the court's ruling for the brother of the man who died, said the decision did not open the floodgates to people using mobile phones for DIY wills.
He said although the will was not witnessed, the court found it had been created with the clear intention of it being legal and operative before he tragically ended his life moments later.
Mr Young, senior associate with Brisbane firm Bennett & Philp Lawyers, said the circumstances of the iPhone involved a young international resident who lived and worked in Australia.
The man faced an intense personal crisis in September, 2011.
With no witnesses he used a "notes" app on his iPhone to tap in a will shortly before ending his life.
The man's brother, named as executor, could not implement the will's instructions as the will did not comply with legal requirements, such as the will be in writing, signed and witnessed.
Justice Lyons declared in Brisbane Supreme Court that the iPhone will was valid and probate was granted.
"The court's declaration that a will typed and saved on a mobile phone constitutes a valid will is, I believe, a first in Queensland, if not Australia," Mr Young said.
"There were special factors in this decision but they do not mean others can use a mobile phone to prepare a DIY will and expect it to be valid."
Mr Young said there were issues about phone security and what might happen if the mobile phone was lost.
"Nobody should keep irreplaceable and sensitive documents on a mobile phone," he said.