Death Of A Partner in A De Facto Relationship Or Marriage
What happens in a de facto relationship when one of the partners die and they are on the title of the deeds to the house? What happens if they were the main one in the relationship paying for the mortgage?
The death of a partner in a de facto relationship or marriage doesn’t mean it’s time to panic financially. How the death of a de facto partner or spouse will affect you financially is a common and legitimate concern. If you have lost your partner and they are the sole owner of the house you live in, then this concern can become overwhelming.
If you find that your de facto partner or spouse left a Will, that does not take you into consideration, or that you feel does not provide adequately for you then you will be able to challenge this Will. In order to challenge a Will in New South Wales, you need to be an “eligible person.” If you were married to the deceased then you are automatically deemed to be an eligible person.
If you were the de facto partner of the deceased, then you will need to show that your relationship fits the definition of a de facto relationship. You will be considered to be in such a relationship with the deceased if you were living as a couple together and you were not married to each other or related by family. There are a number of factors used to determine whether you had a relationship as a couple, including the duration of the relationship, the degree of financial dependence, the care and support of children and the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
If your partner was the one making the mortgage repayments, then you may be concerned about how you are going to manage financially until the administration of the Estate is finalised.
In these circumstances, you need to consider whether your de facto partner or spouse had any relevant insurance policies that may be of assistance. This could include life insurance, superannuation and mortgage insurance, which can assist in paying the mortgage and other daily expenses.
If you find yourself in a situation where your de facto partner or spouse has died and you are worried about your financial security you need to seek expert advice.
Graeme Heckenberg is an expert Wills & Estates lawyer and will be able to guide you on your entitlements on the death of your de facto partner or spouse.