I am a step-child of the deceased: am I eligible to challenge the Will?

Written by Terry Johansson | 13th September 2013

An eligible claimant will also be any person, who is not a child of the deceased, but who, in the case of a marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to the marriage of the deceased or civil partnership.

In some States, a step-child of the deceased may be an eligible claimant , but this is not an automatic right, and the law varies between States.

In order to qualify, a step-child will usually need to prove that he / she was either treated as a child of the family in relation to the marriage of the deceased or civil partnership, dependant on the deceased at the date of death, or had lived with the deceased and had been part of the same household

In some situations the person may not qualify if their natural parent died before the step-parent, of if they had divorced them before the step-parent  had died.

A grandchild of the deceased could also be considered to be an eligible claimant where the grandparent assumed primary and indefinite responsibility of the grandchild and cared for and treated the grandchild as his/her own.

For step-children or grandchildren, it is usually necessary to establish that the deceased expressly or impliedly assumed the position of a parent towards them in a relationship that contained all of the usual parental joys and responsibilities.  Living together is an important facet of this type of relationship.

If the step-child or grandchild was financially dependent upon the deceased at the time of the deceased’s death, then this will strengthen the claim. Otherwise, the claim by the step-child or the grandchild may be too weak.

Obtain preliminary advice as to whether you are an ‘eligible claimant’, as soon as you decide to investigate your rights.  A solicitor can provide this advice on the phone.

A person is not a step-child of the deceased if their parent’s partner was not married to or in a civil partnership with the deceased.  This person will also not be able to take a share of the estate under the rules of intestacy and may not be entitled to make a Family Provision Claim.

Click here for important information on who is eligible to make a claim in the State where the deceased lived and had most of their assets.

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