I am in a gay relationship with a will leaving everything to my partner so how can I avoid my family contesting my wishes?

I am in a gay relationship and have made a Will leaving everything to my partner. However, as we are unable to make our relationship legal, how can I avoid my family contesting my will? They have intimated this will happen as I have a number of assets and they don’t like my partner!

In New South Wales you have the ability of legal recognition of your relationship under the Relationships Registration Act 2010 (“the Act”). The object of this Act is to provide legal recognition of people in a relationship as a couple, regardless of their sex.

There are a number of instances where you will not be able to register your relationship under the Act. These include:

  1. If neither you nor your partner reside in New South Wales; or
  2. Either of you are married or in another registered relationship, in New South Wales or another State; or
  3. You or your partner are in a relationship as a couple with another person; or
  4. You and your partner are related by family.

Registering your relationship with your partner is an important step in ensuring that this relationship is a legally recognised relationship.

You also need to be aware that your family will be ‘eligible persons’ to make a family provision claim on your Estate under the New South Wales Succession Act. However, to be successful in a family provision claim they will need to show that adequate provision for their proper maintenance, education or advancement in life has not been made under your Will. There are a number of factors that the Court will consider when deciding if adequate provision has been made including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. The nature and extent of any obligations or responsibilities owed by you to your family balanced against the obligations and responsibilities owed by you to your partner;
  2. Evidence of your testamentary intentions including written statements by you explaining the reasons behind leaving everything to your partner and nothing to your family;
  3. The nature and extent of your Estate;
  4. Any provision you have made for your family during your lifetime; and
  5. The character and conduct of your family before and after your death.

We note that you have already drafted your Will leaving everything to your partner. To ensure that your Estate is distributed in accordance with your Will you need to have an expert Wills and Estates lawyer review your Will. This may result in amendments being made to your Will to minimise the potential of your family making a family provision claim as well as giving you and your partner some peace of mind.

At Heckenberg Lawyers we don’t take our clients’ confidence for granted: we work hard to earn it by providing an efficient, cost effective service which puts your interests first and doesn’t cut corners. We take pride in achieving repeat custom and winning clients by word of mouth recommendation.

If you need advice about a Will or an Estate matter please call 02 9221 2779 or email info@hecken.com.au to arrange an initial consultation with principal lawyer Graeme Heckenberg at our centrally located Sydney offices in Macquarie Street.

See our Will Dispute Lawyer & Contesting Wills page for more information on the Wills & Estates services we provide or contact us for advice specific to your situation.