LEGAL DECISION: Laws govern the distribution of an estate where a de facto relationship is involved.
LEGAL DECISION: Laws govern the distribution of an estate where a de facto relationship is involved. Chris Chan GLA131011MOOT

High stakes in alleged de facto relationship

ANDREW unexpectedly passes away without leaving a will.

Unmarried and with no children, Andrew and Mary had a close relationship for many years.

Centrelink records show Mary received social security benefits on the basis she was not in a relationship with Andrew and evidence also indicates although residing on the same property, they lived in separate dwellings.

Andrew had stated he was happy to live in a residence being renovated as he wanted to live separately from Mary.

They did not own the property jointly nor did they have joint bank accounts or own any other assets together.

The pair rarely attended social or family functions together and there is also evidence witnesses observed a clash of strong personalities.

Hospital and business records contain references to Mary being Andrew's friend or girlfriend but do not describe her as a wife or partner.

However, there was evidence relating to an insurance policy where Andrew referred to Mary as his de facto wife and several years before passing he signed an affidavit referring to Mary as his fiancée.

Mary says they had a sexual relationship, Andrew provided money for family expenses and relied upon her to perform domestic chores.

She also produces evidence he contributed funds towards the purchase of the real estate in her name and claims she is entitled to the whole of his estate by virtue of being the sole surviving spouse.

Andrew's siblings defend the claim on the basis they are entitled to his estate because the couple ceased being in a de facto a relationship at the date of his death.

The court ultimately rules in Mary's favour.

For Manny to address a legal issue email manny.wood@ticliblaxland.com.au or call 6648 7487.