Adrian Corbould: And I leave my entire estate to… Hello, I was just making my video will.

Hello, I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist, Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers, where I talk about contested wills and estates generally. What I was doing there is I was making a video will. I was recording a video where I intended to disburse my assets.

Make a will on video. What’s the problem? There is a record of me giving my intended testamentary dispositions to the world forevermore. There will be a time stamp on it. Why could that possibly not be viewed as a valid will? I will tell you why. Because the succession act says that a will must be in writing, so making a video is not in writing.

A valid will must be in writing and it must be signed by the will-maker and it must be witnessed by two people. A video even though I am telling the world what I want to be done with my assets and I’m very clear about it and I seem to be of sound mind, why is it such a big problem? Well, as I said before, for a will to be valid in writing, signed by the will-maker, witnessed by two people and a video is not that. However, we talked about in the past that a will can still “get up” if it doesn’t meet all those criteria.

What has to be proven is that the document in which I record my wishes, it has to be proven that I intended for that document to be my last will. What the problem about that is, how do you prove that I intended for that document to be my last will?

A document as interpreted by the law is pretty wide-ranging. It’s any material that can record an image or sound so that it would cover an email, a text message, a video file, a DVD very wide-ranging. What my executor would then have to do is prove to the court that I intended for that video to be my last will. That would take a tonne of time, it would take a huge amount of effort, all the forms tentative to the court would have to be in the right legal process.

You would have to hire lawyers to do this. It would be a very time consuming and what I must say a very expensive process. Particularly if the will is contested. In that, if there was an earlier written will that was valid versus the video will.

Yes, you can make a video will however your estate will be burdened by all the costs to prove that video, which I can’t give you a number but let’s say a lot. Much more than it would cost you in going to a lawyer and getting a written will done where you sign it and it’s witnessed by two people.

Hope that’s been of some help, talk again next time.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2023 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019 guides.

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