SMS not a valid last will and testament: court

A Swedish appeals court has crushed a suicidal man's last wishes by ruling that his text messages to would-be inheritors were not legally valid.

SMS not a valid last will and testament: court
File photo: Tarah Dawdry/Flickr

A 27-year-old in Sweden spent part of his last hours alive sending text messages to his family and friends in which he detailed what they would inherit when he died. A few hours later, he committed suicide. 

Sveriges Radio (SR) reported on Monday that the young man had been thorough in his revision of assets. For example, he sent an SMS to his friend Christoffer to tell him he would inherit a car. 

"He had written up what he would do with his assets, with name and sums of every friend and family member," Christoffer told SR. "It's 100 percent certain that this was his last will, that he wanted it to be this way."

But the man's family appealed the SMS testament. A district court at first ruled the text messages were valid, but now an appeals court has overturned the verdict. 

Inheritance law expert and professor Margatreta Brattström pointed out that had the man written down his last wishes with a pen, the instructions would have remained valid. She told SR it was time for a thorough review of inheritance law in Sweden.

"Our inheritance laws are ancient and a lot has happened since the early 20th century when the rules were written down," Brattström told SR. 

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