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What happens when a de facto partner dies with no will?

A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they have a relationship as a couple living together, and  they are not married to one another or related by family. Our will lawyers can assist you to determine if you, or someone you know, are or were de facto partners. We can also assist you to create or update a will to express your wishes relating to the distribution of your assets.  If your de facto partner has died without a will, you should consult our estate planning lawyers to find out about your entitlements.

Under intestacy laws, a de facto partner has the same entitlements when their partner dies as a legally married spouse. De facto partners are required to prove that the relationship existed for at least the last two years and existed at the time of the death. One of our will lawyers can assist you to give evidence to the Court to show your de facto status. Some details that the lawyer is likely to include are:  the duration of the relationship, level of commitment to a shared life, shared finances,  the shared residence, the performance of duties, whether a  sexual relationship existed, social displays as a couple, children and caring requirements.

Where a partner dies with no will, a de facto will be left with the whole estate if there are no surviving children of the deceased, or children of the surviving spouse and the deceased. Where there are children from the deceased but not the surviving spouse, the spouse has three entitlements:  the intestate’s personal effects; a statutory legacy; and one half of the remainder (if any) of the intestate estate.  Our estate planning lawyers will guide you through the process including working out the statutory legacy.

If you don’t have a Will, we recommend that you contact one of our Will Lawyers.  A Will may help to minimise a potential dispute in the division of your estate upon your death. If you would like a new Will or to update an old Will, contact our Estates Team on 9635 7966 or through the website