Can de facto step-children claim against an estate?

December 5, 2017

There has always been uncertainty whether the children of a de facto partner are “step-children”. Recent changes to the Succession Act in Queensland are designed to put them in the same position as children of a marriage so they can bring claims against a deceased’s estate.

If, at the date of the death of the deceased, the de facto relationship existed, then the children are deemed to be “step-children”. That subsists, so long as the surviving ‘step-parent” has not (before his/her own death) married or entered into another de facto relationship.

Being married is a fact, easily proven by a marriage certificate and a child’s birth certificate usually identifies his/her parents. However, where any de facto relationship is in issue, there is always a problem in proving that the de facto relationship in fact existed at all and further that it ended only by the death of one of the de facto partners. It will be interesting to see how the Courts interpret these changes in future.