The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) has been amended to change the impact of de facto relationships on Wills and estate disputes.

Impacts on Wills

If a Will maker’s de facto relationship comes to an end then this changes their Will. The following are removed, unless a contrary intention appears in the Will:

  1. any gifts made to their former de facto spouse;
  2. the appointment of their former de facto spouse as executor or trustee;
  3. the grant of a power of appointment (in relation to a trust) in favour of their former de facto spouse.

Impacts on estate disputes

The children of a de facto spouse are now included as ‘step-children’ for the purposes of making a claim for a share, or larger share, of the estate (family provision application).

This means that, if you are in a de facto relationship with a person who has children, those children are considered your step-children and can make a claim on your estate after your death.

These amendments essentially bring the treatment of de facto relationships under succession law in line with the treatment of marriages.

If you are currently in a de facto relationship or have recently ceased being in one, it is important to review your estate planning arrangements in light of these amendments.