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Graeme Heckenberg
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My Gay Partner Died – Am I Entitled To Anything?

September 1, 2017 by Graeme Heckenberg

I was in a gay relationship and my partner died. We didn’t have Wills in place and had only been together for 18 months. Am I entitled to any of his possessions?

You may be entitled to your partner’s possessions depending on the circumstances surrounding your relationship and whether your partner had any children.

In New South Wales, when a person dies without making a Will they are said to have died “Intestate”. If a person has died Intestate, then their possessions are distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules set out in the Succession Act.

Under the Intestacy Rules where a person dies leaving a ‘spouse’ but no children the spouse is entitled to the whole of the Estate of the deceased.

What is the definition of ‘spouse’ under the Succession Act?

The Succession Act defines a spouse to include:

  • A person who was married to the deceased immediately before their death.
  • Who was a party to a domestic partnership with the deceased immediately before their death.

What is a ‘domestic partnership’?

A domestic partnership is a relationship between the deceased and another person that is a registered relationship under the Registered Relationship Act, or a de facto relationship that has been in existence for a continuous period of 2 years or resulted in the birth of a child.

If you and your partner had registered your relationship under the Registered Relationship Act, then you are a spouse under the Succession Act and therefore entitled to receive the whole of your partner’s Estate in accordance with the Intestacy Laws.

To find out what you're entitled to, you will need to speak with an expert Wills and Estates lawyer who can explain in detail the rights and entitlements you may have on your partner’s Estate.

These rights and entitlements will depend on the circumstances surrounding your relationship such as whether it was a registered relationship and whether your partner had any children. Our expert lawyers will also be able to advise you on whether you have any other avenues to explore such as entitlements to receive your partner’s superannuation and any potential claims you could make on your partner’s Estate.

Our lawyers keep up-to-date with the law and any changes to the law that affect same sex couples and have used this knowledge to assist numerous client’s receive their entitlements under the Succession Act.