Judge rules text message will change was valid
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The High Court of England and Wales (EWHC) has ruled that an 82-year-old man legally changed his will by text message a few hours before his death in 2020.

Al-Hasib Mian Muhammad Abdullah al-Mahmood had no children and owned an estate valued at £1.4m. This included the estate of his wife who had died two weeks previously.

Born in Bangladesh, Mr Al Mahmood had lived in the UK since the 1970s. He had no children but had made a will in 2015 leaving his UK estate to his wife’s three nieces and her brother.

However, claimant Masudur Rahman stated the deceased had made gifts to him of all his assets in the UK, adding he had known the latter for many years and had helped care for him and his wife in their old age.

Will draftsman Jonathan Amponsah told the High Court he had visited the deceased and had been instructed to draw up a new will under which the claimant was to be sole executor and beneficiary.

Mr Amponsah added he had been due to visit again a week later, but no witnesses were available and he was unaware of the temporary pandemic rules that allowed wills to be witnessed by videoconferencing.

He then received a text message from the deceased’s phone stating: “Masudur Rahman will be the absolute own [sic] of all my assets and the executor of my new and last will. This is my final word. I revoked all my previous will done by me and my wife.”

Finding in favour of the claimant, his Honour Judge Paul Matthews explained the role of donatio mortis causa – a gift made by a living person “in contemplation of their death”.

“Mr Al Mahmood believed he was dying and had given instructions to a professional will-writer for a new will. Unfortunately, this was during the Covid pandemic, and he became agitated because he had not received the new will.

“Understandably, he wanted to ensure that his donative intentions were effective, so he resorted to a gift to take effect on death.”

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