In Australia, an informal will can be found in almost any form and made in almost any manner.
However, the essential qualities for an informal will are:
- It must be a document as statutorily defined as anything on which there is writing, marks, figures, sounds that can be reproduced, map, plan, drawing or photograph.
- It must specify the deceased’s testamentary intentions.
- It lacks legal sophistication like no appointment of executor or incomplete instructions of disposal of all assets.
- It must demonstrate that the deceased intended the document to constitute a will or revocation of a previous will and the document doesn’t have to be in English or made in Australia.
In 2011, Les Quinn made a video recording on his iPhone and said it was his will. Following his death in 2015, his wife found his iPhone but couldn’t access the data on it. She discovered a copy of the recording on the hard drive of the deceased’s computer. That was downloaded to a CD and a transcript was prepared. She applied for letters of administration with the transcript annexed to the application. The Supreme Court of Queensland was satisfied that each of the four requirements for an informal will were satisfied for the original iPhone recording but not the copy uploaded to the computer. Therefore, the Court made a grant in favour of the wife.
From this, it is apparent that an informal will can be very dangerous to make. To avoid unnecessary proceedings, we recommend that you ensure you have a proper Will executed in accordance with legislative requirements.
We are happy to review your document if you have what you think is an informal will. Alternatively, we can assist you in drafting a new formal Will. Please click here to submit an online enquiry form or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.