Probate and Estate Administration: Successful Challenge to Deceased Estate from Secret Domestic Partner

Deceased Estate in SA

A recent court decision in Victoria (Estrella v McDonald) is one of Australia’s first reported judgments resolving a claim for family provision involving a same-sex relationship.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had been in a secret de-facto relationship for 30 years, after they met in 1978 when the claimant was 17 and the deceased was 51.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had commenced a sexual relationship and that he had moved away from his family in the Philippines to live with the deceased’s family for several years. During the deceased’s final years, the claimant was living overseas.

During his life, the deceased had denied that the relationship was sexual in nature as he had apparently been embarrassed to publicly or openly acknowledge the relationship, for fear that it may not be accepted by their families or community.

The deceased had made no provision for the claimant in his Will, which solely benefitted the deceased’s children who defended the claimant’s allegations on the basis that their father and the claimant were “just friends” and that the claimant lived in their home as a boarder.

Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing – hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

In Australia over the last 30 years, any spending in pursuit of rental income from an investment property is tax-deductible, unless the spending is of a capital or private/domestic nature. This is known as ‘negative gearing’.

The owner can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing an investment property, but not initial repairs when the property was first purchased.

Some commentators think that negative gearing has distorted the housing market. They point to negative gearing as one of the main factors in housing affordability having halved in real terms over the last 30 years since negative gearing has been in place.

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

State Governments and authorities around Australia have introduced mandatory Verification of Identity (VOI) policies. These policies help to protect all the parties in a variety of legal and business transactions against fraud.

Mandatory VOI policies are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Similar policies are set to be introduced in New South Wales in 2016, with the remaining states and territories likely to follow shortly.
This overlaps with anti-money-laundering legislation, and various banking & finance protocols and policies.


Death and Taxes Ahead in SA


Australia is the only western democracy in the world not to have some form of death duty. The USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand all have inheritance taxes.

Until the 1970’s each state and territory in Australia had some form of death duty or inheritance tax. But then Joh Bjelke Peterson as premier of Queensland abolished them in that state, and every other state government soon followed suit to remain competitive.

All State and Federal Governments are desperately looking to raise revenue in these difficult economic times, and every recent review of our tax system suggests that some form of inheritance tax will be back on the table.

Advance Care Directives Maximising your Quality of Life

Advance Care Directives: Maximising your Quality of Life

It is important for every adult person to create an Advance Care Directive to maximise their independence, dignity and quality of life.

Personal values, religious and cultural preferences can be recorded for when a person loses the ability to make decisions about their own accommodation and healthcare, including end-of-life decisions.