Smart Phone Will

In the recent decision of Re: Yu [2013] QCS 322 the Queensland Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether a series of messages, made by a deceased on his iPhone could be declared a valid Will under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld).

Mr Yu died on 2 September 2011. Shortly before he died he created a series of documents on his iPhone, one of which was expressed as his last Will. In deciding whether Mr Yu’s Will constituted one which was valid under the Succession Act the Court, considered three conditions.

Firstly, whether something created or stored on an iPhone is a document. The court held that the record of the document on the iPhone was a document for the purposes of section 18 of the Succession Act. This section of the Act makes specific reference to section 36 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) which defines a document to include any disc, tape , other article or any material from which writings can be produced.

The second condition considered by the Court was whether the document purported to the state of testamentary intentions of the deceased. As the deceased dealt with the whole of his property and provided for its distribution including nominating an executor, and alternative executor, the Court was satisfied that the document contained the testamentary intentions of the deceased.

The third condition considered by the Court was whether the deceased intended the document to form his Will. The Court held that as the deceased commenced his recording with the words, ‘this is the last Will and Testament’, and then formally identified himself together with a reference to his address , this made it clear that Mr Yu intended the Will to be legally operative in disposing of his property on his death.