3 bizarre will dispute cases - and how to avoid one yourself

Published 28 Nov 2017

Figuring out what you want to happen to your person, property and assets after you die isn't always easy. If you don't make it clear what your wishes are, there's a chance your family will become wrapped up in a messy legal battle, such as in the following three strange will dispute cases.

1. Unsent text message ruled to be a valid will

Earlier this month, a Queensland judge decided that a man's unsent text message entitled 'My will :)' constitutes a legally binding document and will be treated as his final will and testament. In the text, the man (who took his own life not long after) cut out his wife and son, instead leaving the house and superannuation to his brother and nephew.

The brother and nephew asked that the text be treated as the final will; the wife and son contested this, claiming significance in the fact that the deceased didn't send the text. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the text was valid, giving the estate to the brother and nephew.

2. Ted Williams and his cryogenic wishes

In his will, legendary baseball player Ted Williams specified that he wished to be cremated and have his ashes thrown out to sea. However, after his death, the executor of his will (as well as two of Williams' children) came forward with a document Williams had signed saying he wished to be cryogenically frozen.

The eldest daughter contested this in an attempt to uphold her father's original will, but ultimately she ran out of money for legal fees - both Williams and one of his sons are now frozen.

3. Two grandchildren thrown to the dogs

In another American case, a NYC real estate mogul and billionaire passed away, leaving most of her money to charity with some small amounts going to relatives. She did, however, leave $12 million to her dog, sparking numerous death threats against it and leading to it being under high security at all times (at a cost of around $100,000 each year).

Two of her grandchildren, both of whom were left out of the will, disputed the wishes of their late grandmother. In the end, the judge ordered that the dog be left $2 million and the grandchildren receive $6 million each. The remainder of the estate was passed on to charity.

Making a clear will

As you can see from these cases, the potential for various types of will disputes is wide. If you feel as though you've been unfairly left out of a will, it makes sense to seek legal help. At Malouf Solicitors, we have a number of experienced will dispute lawyers who are ready to help - reach out to a representative today to learn more.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

I remain extremely grateful for Maloufs legal representation related to my financial management of the estate of my brother and for your continuing help and advice in this matter. As an aside, I always recommend Maloufs to my friends and family members who are seeking the best legal representation - only last week, I strongly advised a close family friend that their best interests would be served by arranging an appointment at your Parramatta offices.
John of Parramatta NSW

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