Can I make a claim against the Estate even if I’m a Stepchild of the Deceased?

By 20 November 2017Litigation
Claim Against The Estate

Sometimes people who should be provided for under a Will are left out, or not provided for adequately.

A claim of this nature brought against the Estate of the deceased is known as a Family Provision Claim.

In Queensland, you are only eligible to make a Family Provision Claim if you are the deceased person’s spouse, child, or dependant pursuant to Part 4 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) (“the Act”).

Under the Act, a “child” is defined to mean any child, stepchild, or adopted child of the deceased person.

However, to be considered a stepchild under the Act, and so entitled to make a Family Provision Claim, you must:

  • First: be the child of the spouse of the deceased person; and
  • Second: one of the following must apply:
  • at the time of the deceased’s death, he or she must have been married to your natural parent; or
  • at the time of the deceased’s death, he or she must have been in a civil partnership with your natural parent, meaning their relationship was registered under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 (Qld) pursuant to the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 (Qld); or
  • at the time of the deceased’s death, he or she must have been in a de facto relationship with your natural parent, meaning they were living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis for a continuous period of 2 years, ending on the deceased’s death.

It is also important to note that, in circumstances where you are a stepchild and your natural parent passes away first, a stepchild and step-parent relationship does not end.

For example, Debbie and Doug were living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis for a continuous period of 2 years, so they were in a de facto relationship. Debbie is your natural parent and Doug is your step-father. If Debbie passed away before Doug, you would continue to be Doug’s stepchild for the duration of Doug’s lifetime because Debbie and Doug were in a de facto relationship at the time of Debbie’s death. Even if Doug enters into a new de facto relationship, or civil partnership, or marriage, after Debbie’s death, you would still remain Doug’s stepchild.

If you or someone you know satisfies the above stepchild criteria, then you or they may be eligible to make a Family Provision Claim against the Estate of the step-parent.

To find out more about Family Provision Claims, click here.

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