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 all of the usual parental privileges and responsibilities. A mere display of affection, kindness or hospitality will not be enough to meet these requirements.
A court will look at all of the circumstances of your relationship with your step-parent such as the closeness of your relationship, what care the step-parent provided for you, whether you visited one another frequently and enjoyed joint holidays, whether you cared for your step-parent in any illness prior to their death or whether your step-parent entrusted you with their confidences and financial affairs.
Normally, a step-child would need to have lived with their step-parent for a period of time in order for them to be eligible.
It can be difficult to prove that you were treated as a child of the family and the above situation does not apply in all States, so you should be advised on your position by an expert lawyer.
You may also be eligible if the deceased made substantial financial and other contributions to you in money or money’s worth immediately before their death.
In this situation, your relationship with the deceased must have been one of dependency and you would need to show that there was a pattern of substantial contributions, or maintenance, rather than sporadic one off payments.
An expert lawyer should be able to give you advice, right there on the phone, as to whether you meet the requirements of an ‘eligible claimant’.