‘Can my ex-wife’s new partner rob our kids of her home if she dies?’

Jan 02, 2021
There are some hurdles to jump over before a de facto can successfully contest a will. Source: Getty.

Q: My ex-wife has a house of her own with no mortgage and it only has her name on the papers. She has a partner (they aren’t married) who hasn’t contributed anything towards the property. The property was given to her by me when we divorced. She has made out a will for our four adult children only. If she does pass away, can her partner contest the will and claim a certain percentage of the property?

A: A new partner could potentially challenge your former wife’s will. Although the rules can differ from state to state, the first hurdle for him would be to establish that he was your wife’s de facto spouse at the date of her death and had been for a certain period before that.

If he managed to jump that hurdle, he would then have to jump another one, namely, that she had an obligation to provide for him and he had an economic need to be provided for. There are things she could do to reduce the prospect of a successful challenge by him but that is a matter for your wife to pursue. There’s not much you can do about it except to have a quiet word in her ear about protecting the interests of the children.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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