NSW De Facto Partner with No Will - What Happens When He Dies?

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24 May 2015
Hi, I am partnered but not married (de facto). My partner does not have a will, but owns 2 investment houses with me.

He does not have a will. My concern is that the houses are in his name only. I pay into the mortgage but nothing legally shows I have a financial interest in the properties. He believes that if he dies before me, I will get the properties.

Is this the case?


Hi Jojo62,

If you and your partner held the properties jointly, then they would pass to you automatically upon his death, they don't even form part of the asset pool of the estate or the will.

If they are in his name and he leaves them to you in his will, they will pass to you via the will as an inheritance.

If they are in his name and he dies without leaving a will, all his property will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. These are contained in the Succession Act (NSW). The general rule is, if you have a spouse and no children the whole estate goes to your spouse. Therefore, provided you are deemed to be his spouse under the Succession Act, (which you likely will be if you have been in a de facto relationship with him for 2 years or more or had a child with him) you will be entitled to his whole estate - after payment of debts and funeral expenses etc. You can read more about it here:
Who can inherit | Rest assured: a legal guide to wills, estates and funerals in New South Wales

However, it is always better to have a will, just so that you are sure of what is happening and there are no nasty surprises.