Inheritance claims in Western Australia fall under the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA). This Acts assists people who fall within a certain class to change the way the deceased person’s estate would otherwise be distributed under the of the last valid will or in the event of intestacy under the Administration Act 1903 (WA).
The people who can normally seek to change the will of a deceased include a spouse (married or defacto) of the deceased, the former spouse who at the time of the deceased’s death was receiving or was entitled to receive maintenance from the deceased, a child of the deceased (including one not yet born), and a grandchild being maintained by the deceased or a grandchild whose parent died before the deceased. Some recent changes to the Western Australian inheritance law came into effect on 16 January 2013, which now allows for step-children to be included in the above category if they believe they have not been adequately provided for in the estate of a deceased relative. They may apply to the court for an order that they receive more from that estate.
The Act defines ‘stepchild’ of a deceased as someone who was alive on the date on which the deceased married or entered into a de facto relationship with a parent of the person but who is not a child of the deceased. In order to eligible, immediately before the death of the deceased:
1) the stepchild must have been maintained, or have been entitled to be maintained by the deceased; or
2) the deceased must have received, or have been entitled to receive property from the estate of a parent of the stepchild (other than as a creditor).
This change to include step children is an important and much needed change to the inheritance legislation in Western Australia as it recognises the increasing phenomenon of blended families in Australia. If a person is a step child who has been left out of a will or has not been adequately provided for then it may be possible to make a claim for adequate provision out of the deceased’s estate, if the deceased passed away after 16 January, 2013. For more information, please contact our Wills and Estates team here AT HHG Legal Group.
This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.