Mother’s death note not intended as will

A handwritten note to an estranged daughter, which vowed to revoke a will and which was found a week after the mother’s death, will not be admitted to probate.

In the Supreme Court Cairns on Tuesday, an application by Juliana Barbara Wool (“Juliana”) in relation to the note by her mother Erika Kaegi-Fluri (“Erika”) was dismissed by Justice Henry, who was not satisfied the writer intended the note to be her will.

On her death in June 2022, Erika bequeathed her estate in one third shares to the RSPCA and two friends, purposefully not leaving any of her estate to her daughter.

Juliana made the probate application in reliance upon Section 18 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld), which permits the court to dispense with formal will execution requirements for a document that “purports to state the testamentary intentions of a deceased person”.

The only child had been left everything in a 2013 will, but after a falling-out and ensuing litigation, Erika made further formal wills in 2018 and 2020. Each explained it made no provision for Juliana and that there had been a breakdown in their relationship.

When the executor of the 2020 will applied for it to be admitted to probate, Juliana alleged a subsequent will was made by the note.


Justice Henry ruled the application must fail because he was not satisfied the deceased intended the note would operate as her will or vary or revoke her existing will.

He said it was not enough that the note articulated a testamentary intention. Further, it was not accompanied by a heading or introduction to indicate it was a will.

“For a court to be satisfied the deceased intended the document “to form” her will, the evidence must establish Erika intended the document itself to have operative effect, without more, as a will,” he said.

The note, which was written on decorative notepaper in capitalised handwriting, contained broken English and occasional poor spelling, consistent with English not being Erika’s first language.  It was accompanied by photographs taken of the mother and daughter when Juliana was growing up.

“Her use of language gives rise to competing inferences about the temporal intention conveyed by the note. See for example, language such as “I am changing my will”, “I leave the house and all my money to you Juliana” and “I cancel the Cairns will”,” Justice Henry said.

“By such language was Erika meaning to convey that is what she was intending to do in writing the note? Or was it an indication of what she would do when she made a new will?


“The former intention is moderately supported by the language “I go to hospital now” and “I write this letter in case something happens to me”.

“But such language is not strongly at odds with the latter intention, for example, letting her beloved daughter know Erika sufficiently regretted their estrangement that she planned to make a new will again favouring her.

“More tellingly, the latter intention finds moderate support in the language “When I get better I make a new will with a lawyer”.

“The note’s content standing alone at best provides some support for an inference Erika intended it to operate as her will. However, it provides at least equally strong support for the inference Erika merely intended the note to inform her daughter of her regret and change of heart and her plan to reflect that by making a new will favouring Juliana after all.

“It follows the content of the note alone does not satisfy me Erika intended the note to of itself form her will or alter or revoke her existing will.”

Other evidence was presented to show Erika did not intend the note to operate without more as her will.


It included “considerable variability” in Erika’s comments made to others about her daughter in the closing month of her life, “a tendency to emotional volatility”, and medical evidence of cognitive decline by the date of the note.

“The facts are consistent with a lack of deliberation, at a time of high emotion on the part of an emotionally volatile and cognitively impaired woman, as to what effect she intended the document to have,” Justice Henry said.

“To the extent there may have been any deliberation by Erika as to the purpose the note was to serve, it was unlikely to have been a legal purpose and more likely to have been an emotional purpose – salving her emotional distress by writing a private note of her love for her daughter and her plan to favour her daughter after all.”

Justice Henry dismissed the application for the note to be admitted to probate, and ordered the 2020 will be admitted.

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