Can a Will be done electronically – not on paper?

Feb 5, 2024 | Publication

Can a Will be valid if it is found on a computer (i.e. not signed with pen and in a hard copy form)?

The Supreme Court of South Australia recently examined the validity of an electronic Will created on an iPad and signed using an iPad pen.

The decision of In the Estate of Elizabeth Seabrooke (Deceased)[2023] SASC 122 examined the case law surrounding electronic Wills.

The decision sets out the step by step analysis that the Court has to undergo to determine whether to admit an electronic Will to probate.

In this case the Court found that a PDF was “duly executed by the [deceased]” and set out the deceased’s “testamentary intentions and that in affixing her electronic signature to the electronic document she intended that document to constitute her will”.

In New South Wales, there is the concept of an ‘informal Will’ as provided for by section 8 of the Succession Act 2006.  To be an informal Will there must be a document which purports to state a person’s testamentary intention and the Court needs to be satisfied that the person intended the document to form his or her Will.

Electronic documents can be accepted as informal Wills.

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