How do I prove a 'close personal relationship' with the deceased?

Published 10 Aug 2017

Contesting a will is an important right in NSW. The process enables those who feel they have not been adequately provided for out of a loved one's will to challenge their estate.

However, not everyone is entitled to pursue an inheritance dispute through the legal system. The Succession Act 2006 (NSW) outlines the various types of relationship that a prospective plaintiff needs to have had with the deceased in order to be considered an eligible person.

Most of these relationships are fairly clear-cut, such as spouses and children, but others aren't as obvious. For example, Section 57 (1)f of the Act lists the following as eligible claimants:

"A person with whom the deceased person was living in a close personal relationship at the time of the deceased person's death."

But what does this mean? We'll untangle some of the mystery for you.

Defining a 'close personal relationship'

A close personal relationship seems open to interpretation. Many friends, relatives or even acquaintances and colleagues may believe they had a rapport with the deceased that constituted such a relationship.

The legal requirements are more discerning, however. A close personal relationship must meet certain criteria, including that the two adults in question were:

  • Living together, whether family or not; and
  • Providing domestic support or personal care for one another.

The domestic support and personal care requirement doesn't have to be mutual, which means carers may be able to pursue a family provision claim. Carers cannot be receiving money for their help or performing their duties as part of an organisation or service provider.

Live-in partners who don't classify as spouses or as being in a de-facto relationship with the deceased are also common claimants under Section 57 1(f).

Was I in a close personal relationship with the deceased?

Close personal relationships can be difficult to judge; living arrangements may be temporary, or an executor may dispute the level of domestic support and personal care between the plaintiff and the deceased.

To see whether you could be considered an eligible person under the Act, please contact an experienced contesting wills lawyer who can talk you through your circumstances and the relevant legislation.

Many people are often unaware that they are entitled to make a family provision claim against the will of a loved one, potentially missing out on crucial financial support for their future welfare.

Speak to a member of our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers today.

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