Can people in same-sex relationships contest their partner's will?

Published 01 Apr 2015

Author: David Cossalter

Same-sex partners are eligible to contest a will, provided they were in a de-facto relationship with the deceased at the time of their death.

A de-facto relationship is the term used for any couples who aren't legally wed but often share many characteristics with married people, such as living together. This means that while you may not technically be the spouse of the deceased, you will still be considered as such in the eyes of the law.

In some cases, de-facto or same-sex partners do not have to be residing with each other for one to legitimately contest a will. There are a number of other factors that could determine whether or not the courts consider the individuals a genuine de-facto couple, such as:

  • Any financial dependency or other specific monetary arrangements
  • The presence of a sexual relationship
  • The care and support of children
  • Public knowledge and perception of the relationship
  • Acknowledgement of mutual commitment to sharing a life

De-facto relationships may still exist even if one of the individuals is currently married or in another de-facto partnership. However, provisions under the Family Law Act prohibit individuals in a de-facto relationship from being family relatives.

Once you have established your eligibility, you should be ready to consider launching a family provision claim to make sure you receive an appropriate share of the deceased's estate.

How can I challenge the will?

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can pursue an inheritance dispute in cases where you feel you have not been adequately provided for in a de-facto partner's will.

The first step should be to contact a contesting wills lawyer in NSW who can review your case and gauge the likelihood of success based on your circumstances and any related evidence.

Hiring a no-win, no-fee legal team ensures you don't have to worry about the financial side of challenging a will, allowing you to concentrate on winning before the issue of payment arises.

Your lawyer can give you guidance, gather information and facts on your behalf and present your case to executors, mediators and, if necessary, the courts.

Whether you agree to a settlement or take your case in front of a judge, it's important to have legal representation that is aware of relevant legislation and has experience of fighting many cases similar to yours.

For more information, contact GMP contesting will lawyers on 1800 004 878 to arrange an office appointment and discuss your options.

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