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| 1 minute read

"Text message changes will". No it doesn't.

The High Court has (sensibly) decided that a text message sent by a man shortly before his death was sufficient to satisfy the test for a deathbed gift. Those keen on the law using Latin phrases will know this as donatio mortis causa. “Deathbed gift” is more ITV drama and probably a little more accessible… 

There are lots of reports that the court has allowed the will to be changed by the text message. This is lazy reporting, and isn't what has happened here. What has happened is that the court has applied a long-established test and decided that the requirements for making a gift without making a new will have been satisfied. The effect may be the same. The reason isn't. 

Rant over. 

The Law Commission has been looking (for some time) at how the will-making process can be brought more up to date in the UK, advancing on the 1837 statute that still governs the requirements for executing a valid will (ably supported by the 1870 case that sets out the test for capacity to do the same). Never let it be said that the law doesn't move with the times… 


private wealth disputes, private client