Court finds smartphone video can serve as man’s will

Date: Nov 14, 2019

A Queensland court has decided that video footage found on the smartphone of a man who died by suicide can act as his final will and testament.

A video recording from years past

Leslie Wayne Quinn died by suicide in June 2015, and left behind his wife, Leanne – from whom he was separated, but not divorced – and three children. Following Quinn’s death, video footage discovered on his smartphone showed the man recording what he called his “last will” during a lunch break in 2011.

In the video, Quinn stated that he wanted everything to be left to his wife, Leanne. “…All my goods, my interests in property…my share of those to go to my wife, Leanne Quinn,” he said. He also added that he wanted to be cremated, but did not want a funeral or memorial service.

Queensland law dictates division between immediate family

Queensland law states that formal wills must not only be in writing to be considered legal, but must include documentation of witnesses with no personal connection to the testator.

Without a formal will, the Public Trustee of Queensland will split up any assets amongst members of the testator’s immediate family, including their spouse and any children.

An application to the Public Trustee

Quinn’s wife made a formal application to the Public Trustee in an effort to use her late husband’s video-recorded will as his final will and testament, leaving all assets to her.

Senior Judge Administrator of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Ann Lyons, agreed, stating that Quinn had intended the video to function as his will and that he was of sound mind when the video was recorded.

“I consider that the terms of the recorded message are rational and there is nothing on the recording that causes me to have the slightest doubt that he had testamentary capacity at the time he made the recording,” Lyons said.

Quinn’s oldest son previously considered contesting the decision, as he was opposed to Leanne being the sole beneficiary of the will, but no action has been taken as of yet.

Are you interested in contesting a will? You’re eligible as long as you’re the spouse, a child, a former husband or wife, were in a relationship with the deceased at the time of his or her death, a grandchild and were a member of the household or were living in a close personal relationship with the deceased. Contact Gerard Malouf and Partners for more information.

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