An 81-year-old woman has lost her lega fight to inherit a home following the death of her former de facto partner.
An 81-year-old woman has lost her lega fight to inherit a home following the death of her former de facto partner.

Elderly woman loses fight for Gympie man's $1.6m estate

An 81-year-old woman has lost her fight to claim either the $1.6m estate belonging to a 92-year-old Gympie man or the $350,000 home he left her in an informal will after Brisbane's Supreme Court ruled their de facto relationship had ended years before his death.

The woman had been left the home near Bundaberg in an unwitnessed will and testament found at the property following the man's death in January 2020.

The house was part of a $1.6m estate he left behind, which included another $200,000 property and $1m in a term deposit.

The woman claimed she was entitled to receive the residuary estate as she was the man's de facto partner at the time of his death.

The pair, who were together for 17 years, had lived together at the property from 2002 until 2102 when she was forced to move into a Bundaberg retirement home.

The Supreme COurt ruled the couple’s relationship ended at least four years before the man’s death. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Penny Stephens
The Supreme COurt ruled the couple’s relationship ended at least four years before the man’s death. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Penny Stephens

In mid-2013 the man, identified in the court ruling as Mr HRA, was moved into a Gympie nursing home after being diagnosed with advanced dementia.

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Following his death, a signed, unwitnessed letter dated February 2010 was found at the Bundaberg property which left the property to the woman.

But her claim to legal inheritance of the estate and the property was denied in court as Senior Judge Administrator Ann Lyons ruled her relationship with Mr HRA had legally ended in 2012.

The court found even if the informal will was legal, the end of the relationship ruled the woman out of the inheritance.
The court found even if the informal will was legal, the end of the relationship ruled the woman out of the inheritance.

Justice Lyons found that although the woman had no intention of ending the relationship when she moved into the nursing home, there was minimal contact in the ensuing seven years, which included only three attempts to contact Mr HRA and a visit in 2016.

"There is simply no evidence which records any attempt by (her) to contact, communicate or inquire about Mr HRA in any way whatsoever in the relevant last two years of his life and probably no real effort after 2016," Ms Lyons said.

This meant even if the unsigned will was ruled valid, the lack of a relationship between the pair in the final two years of Mr HRA's life meant the woman was no longer consider his de facto partner.

Gympie Times

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