Step Child Contesting a Will in NSW.

Step children are eligible to contest a will however the law is quit different in each State. Step children cases can be very complex and you are advised to discuss any potential claim with your preferred lawyer. 

Stepchildren are not specifically mentioned in the law as being eligible to claim. To be successful you must be a person (stepchild in your case) who was, at any particular time, wholly or partly dependent on your step-parent and you were at that time or any other time a member of the household which your step-parent was a member. 

So, you must have lived in the same household as your step-parent and been dependant upon your step-parent. There is no rule about how long you need to have lived in the same household with your step-parent or how dependant you have been upon your step-parent. 

You need to demonstrate that you have complied with both rules: 'Household' and 'Dependency' but they do not need to be at the same time. For example you may have lived in the same 'Household' for a period but not actually 'Dependent' at time and twenty years later you may have found yourself dependent upon your step-parent. In that case you would be eligible to claim. However the usual case would be that you were in fact dependent upon your step-parent at the time you were living with him or her.

There is no rule about how long in the 'Household" or how much 'Dependency' however the longer the 'Household' and the more 'Dependency' the stronger your claim for provision out of the estate. All of this also depends upon the strength of claims by other competitors or beneficiaries named in the will. 

Exception to the Rule.

Adoptions. Children are eligible to make a family provision claim in each State so if by chance your step-parent adopted you then in that case you would not actually be a 'stepchild' but a 'child' within the law of each State and entitled to apply for provision out of the estate without the need to prove anything other than financial need for support.

As a child making a Family Provision Claim all you need to demonstrate to the court is your need for provision and that the deceased failed to make adequate provision for your proper maintenance and support.

The success of any claim will depend upon the extent of your financial need and that or your competitors.  

doyles STEP Law Society of New South Wales Queensland Law Society Law Institute Victoria


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