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  • A recent Supreme Court of South Australia decision has examined the validity of an ‘electronic will’ created on an iPad and executed using an iPad pen.
  • The Court considered recent case law on what constitutes an ‘electronic will’.
  • The case and authorities referred to on ‘electronic wills’ may serve as useful guidance for NSW practitioners and estate planners.

The emergence of electronic wills has raised intricate legal questions regarding their validity, execution and interpretation. This article delves into the Supreme Court of South Australia’s decision In the Estate of Elizabeth Seabrooke (Deceased) [2023] SASC 122 (‘Seabrooke’) in the context of ‘electronic wills’. The case is used to examine the evolving legal landscape surrounding ‘electronic wills’. It provides valuable insights into their acceptance, authentication and adherence to legal requirements within the framework of estate law.

The traditional process of will-making has undergone significant transformation with the advent of electronic documentation and digital signatures. The decision in Seabrooke provides an opportunity to explore the intersection between ‘electronic wills’ and traditional legal precedent.


The deceased, Elizabeth Seabrooke, died on 24 April 2022 at Woodville South. The case concerned whether a printed copy of a PDF document containing the scanned copy of the electronic version of a will document dated 15 October 2018 should be admitted to probate as the deceased’s last will and testament.

The document sought to be admitted to probate was a copy of a document downloaded from an iPad tablet belonging to Natalie Basford, the named executor in that document. Ms Basford was the daughter of the deceased and she was the applicant for probate.

The original electronic document was executed by the deceased on an iPad using an iPad pencil to affix her signature to the final page and was witnessed in the same way.

The electronic will could not be located on the iPad on which it was prepared and signed. A copy of the electronic will was saved to a USB and lodged with the Registry.

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