‘Can I make voice-recorded amendments to my will?’

Linda made her will 40-plus years ago and wishes to make some amendments. She asks estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich if her planned strategy is legal.

‘Can I make voice-recorded amendments to my will?’

Linda* made her will 40-plus years ago and wishes to make some amendments. She asks estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich if her planned strategy is legal.


Q. Linda
I’m happy with my now 40-plus-year-old will – splitting my estate between my two sons – but wish to make some adjustments relating to costs involved in the care of my dog – and me. Could you please tell me if personally recorded amendments to my will, made on my smartphone, are legal?

A. The answer to your question is an unsatisfactory maybe. A taped or spoken amendment to your will could only have formal legal effect if your will, the recording and the circumstances, is examined by a court and the court holds that it was an effective amendment.

This will take time, costs lots of money and the outcome is uncertain. It would be much safer, much cheaper and much more certain to redo your will or have a formal amendment made to your old will. Such a document is called a codicil.  

* Not her real name

Rod Cunich is a lawyer and author with more than 30 years’ experience who specialises in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au. His book, Understanding Wills and Estate Planning, has recently been updated and is available from all good bookshops.

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Nov 2019
    I would have been more definitive than this and said definitely not. Some years ago my wife and I had death threats made against us and we were able to trace the call to a mobile phone and its owner. The voice was very distinctive but the court held that the phone could have been picked up by anyone eg. in a pub and the threat made unknown to the phone's owner. As unlikely as this was the court decided that the accused could not be found guilty of threatening to kill. Had we been footballers, celebrities or politicians of course the court's decision would almost certainly have been quite different.
    Chris B T
    21st Nov 2019
    Makes more sense to have a "Mattress Bank" for these type of needs.
    No gilt or groveling to a financial institution.
    Ease of access as well.
    On the Ball
    1st Apr 2020
    As long as you sleep on a cast iron matress! That's safe from bushfires, floods, burglars, spouses (!!) etc.
    But if interest rates keep going down, into negative territory, you'll be better off!
    Sleep well...

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