‘How can I ensure my son inherits my home without impacting my de facto?’

Dec 26, 2020
This reader has found herself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to who she's going to hand her house to when she dies. Source: Getty.

Q: My partner and I live in my home, in which I also own the contents. I have a small amount of super and am currently unemployed. My partner is on the Age Pension and he owns the car but has little savings. We both pay equally into an account to cover food and outgoings like the phone, power etc. I pay land rates and any repairs or improvements. We have been together eight years after getting together later in life. I’m concerned in writing up my will, in consideration of my partner who has two grown-up, independent children from a previous marriage and my obvious wish to provide/give to my own son, who also lives independently from me/us.

I want my partner to be able to live comfortably should anything happen to me but not to the detriment of my son. My partner has been a person who ‘lives for the moment’ and has had no desire to purchase a property or save for old age – so I am reluctant to just give it all to him as his line of thought is contrary to mine. What should I do?

A: Your aspiration to benefit your partner and your son is always a tough balancing act. However, there is a way.

In your will you could give to your partner, if you die first, the right to live in the home until they die or whatever other limitation you want. When the partner ‘leaves’ the home to go to heaven or elsewhere, the ownership of the property would then pass to your son. In other words, your son would have to be patient but would be the ultimate beneficiary of the home. There can be some tricky bits to consider in this arrangement – as you can see here from another readers’ question I addressed recently – so best to get some legal advice to get it right.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s money experts, email it to [email protected].

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.

Have you been in a similar situation? What would you do?

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