Q. I live in Victoria and I do not currently have a will. But since I’ve been in a de facto relationship for over 30 years, I assume that my partner will inherit the house, cars, and any material possessions we own. My partner and I do not have children together, but I have four children from a previous relationship and I would like to be informed of my rights regarding these children.
Most importantly, I am estranged from one of my children and I don’t want them to inherit anything from me. I have binding beneficiaries to receive my retirement pension, and my estranged child is not one of them. I also have an insurance policy where my children are equal beneficiaries (with the exception of my estranged child, whose benefit is set at 1 percent) but which I cannot bind. I’ve heard that by law I have to leave my children a certain percentage of my estate or they can challenge a will or my will. But does that also apply to life insurance? My questions are:
- Is the 1 percent enough or can I omit it entirely from life insurance?
- After my death, will one of my children (with or without a will) be able to dispute a share of my own and my own share in my house, cars and other assets?
- I made $ 200,000 in this relationship while my partner had nothing. So I wonder if I can make sure that after my death and in the event that my partner remarries, everything is sold and my children receive the same amount that I brought into the relationship, i.e. my partner and everyone new partners or any new family he may have does not inherit everything.
- Even if he doesn’t remarry, is there a clause I could have put in a will that my children would still get what is right for them after his death?
A. Nothing beats a simple, straightforward series of difficult questions! I could spend a lot of time and energy answering your specific questions, but since I am unfamiliar with Victorian law, here are some basic concepts you need to understand that will hopefully give you an incentive to do something about a will , as opposed to doing nothing about it.
- If you didn’t make a will, the likelihood of litigation after your death in your circumstances is exponentially higher than if you had made a will.
- You can make a will as you like and give your fortune to whomever you want.
- The law does not require you to give anything to anyone, including your children or your de facto partner.
- If you give $ 1 to a beneficiary i.e. your estranged child, you cannot contest your will or estate if you do not have a will, and that is because a person authorized to contest your will such as You didn’t give them anything or because they think you didn’t give them enough.
- Giving someone a dollar in your will is almost guaranteed to be challenged as it comes off like a slap in the face.
Here is some free advice – get legal advice and get a will!
IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE This article is general in nature and is for informational purposes only as it does not take into account your financial or legal situation, goals or needs. That means it is not about financial products or legal advice and should not be relied on. Before making any financial or legal decision, find out if the information is appropriate for your situation and obtain independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.