Issues for Step-Children

There are important legal consequences if your step-parent dies without a will, creating what is known as ‘intestacy’.

Many people would not be aware of their rights in this situation and would be unaware whether they are able to contest the division of the estate. There are some situations where a step-child is eligible to share in the estate of the deceased.

This guide aims to explain the rights of step-children in intestacy in Australia and explore the options that may be available to them to contest the division of their step-parent’s estate.

In this guide the term step-child means a person whose parent has married some-one who is not their parent (i.e. they married the step-parent) and the step-child was never adopted by that step-parent.  The step-child may or may not have lived with their step-parent at some stage.

If your parent did not marry the person who you see as your “step-parent” the contents of this section do not apply to you.

Here are are some related articles:

Will I receive a share of my step-parent’s superannuation fund

Written by Terry Johansson | 18th September 2013

A step-child may not automatically receive a benefit from the deceased’s superannuation fund. The contributor to a superannuation fund is usually entitled to nominate a third party to receive the benefits due after the contributor’s death. This nomination is usually not binding on the trustee of the superannuation fund and...

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Is a step-child eligible to make a family provision claim?

Written by Terry Johansson | 18th September 2013

Child of the Family? If you were treated as a child of the family of the deceased, you may be an eligible claimant. It is usually necessary for you to establish that the deceased expressly or impliedly assumed the position of a parent towards you in a relationship that contained...

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I am a step-child of the deceased: can I be the Administrator of the estate?

Written by Terry Johansson | 18th September 2013

Unfortunately, a step-child will not usually be able to act as Administrator. There are strict rules about who can apply to be the Administrator. The following people are eligible to apply and are usually eligible only in this order of priority: a) he married partner, civil partner or unmarried partner...

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Can the rules of intestacy be contested by a step-child?

Written by Terry Johansson | 25th July 2014

A step-child may, in some circumstances, be able to contest the division of the Estate under the rules of intestacy and seek provision for themselves by making a ‘Family Provision’ claim. A potential claim against the estate will only arise if: a) The deceased died whilst domiciled in the State...

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