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Benefits and services

If you and your partner have not discussed these issues, and your interests have not been protected, the law may be able to help if you are told you need to leave your home. You may have what the law calls an 'equitable interest' in the property even if you are not the legal owner.

You will have had to have made financial or other contributions to the property on the understanding that you would be able to live in the house for life, or be entitled to some money if the property was sold. You can ask the Supreme Court to order that your interest in the property be recognised and that you are financially compensated. The law in this area can be complex and you would need legal advice before you considered legal action. You may be able to challenge your spouse or partner's will. This is called a 'family provision claim' and must be made within 12 months of the date of death.

The Supreme Court can change someone's will if it thinks that you were not properly looked after by their will. The Court will look at things like:. Using the law in these ways is expensive and you can never be sure of the outcome, so it is far better to try to sort things out while the owner of the property is still alive. Eleni, 71, was married to Sy for 17 years. It was her first marriage but Sy's second marriage. Sy had two adult children from his first marriage.

Sy owned the home in his own name. They had never talked aboutwhat would happen to Eleni if Sy died.

When he died Eleni discovered that Sy had made a will which left the house they shared to his two children in equal shares. His children decided to sell the house and told Eleni that she had four months to find somewhere else to live. Eleni's only option was to start legal action to challenge Sy's will. If she had discussed her situation with Sy and a lawyer before Sy died, she may have been able to prevent this from happening.

Families Take a Hit!

This Program provides legal advice, assistance and information to older people in NSW. To find out more about the Program or to request an information session on any topic for your group call 02 A print copy of this brochure may be Ordered online or call 02 This publication is intended as a general guide to the law. It should not be relied on as legal advice.

It is recommended that you talk to a lawyer about your particular situation. At the time of printing, this information is correct but may be subject to change.

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You can find out if the law has changed since publication by contacting LawAccess NSW on Ask Government. Factsheets and resources Credit law toolkit Discrimination toolkit Get court smart Kids in care Mortgage stress handbook My ex-partner isn't following the court orders about our children - What can I do? Seeking urgent recovery orders in the Family Court Speaking for myself Subpoena survival guide What to do after a natural disaster Need immigration advice? Being a guardian for a child or young person - Facts for carers Do you need support or legal help with your family law problem?

Do you need legal help and support with domestic violence? Do you need support for your family law problem? Support for women Do you need support for your family law problem? Support for men Reviews and reports Annual report Order a publication. They want me to leave Listen. Staying in your home when your partner dies Many older people live in homes that are legally owned by someone other than themselves and face eviction from that home when the owner dies.

Prevention is better than cure It is best to talk with your spouse, partner or family member about what might happen to you if the person who owns the home you live in dies. If you are not sure what would happen you should talk to a lawyer. The best of both worlds You can take steps to make sure that your interests are protected without other people losing out on their inheritance.

We use cookies to make sure that you get the best experience on our website. By closing this message, you consent to having our cookies on this device as set out in our cookie policy , unless you have disabled them. This is just one of our resources to help you if you are living with your partner. There are few things in life more confusing and worrying than money issues. This guide is for you if you receive benefits or tax credits and live with an unmarried partner. We want to help you get what you are entitled to and avoid the stress and upset that problems with benefits cause.

This information will also help if you are not living with your partner but a benefits office believes you are, if you moving in with your partner, or if your relationship has ended. Can you spare a few minutes? We will use your feedback to seek funding and improve our guides and make sure they are as helpful as possible.


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This page is for you if you receive benefits or tax credits and are having trouble because a benefits office believes you are living with your partner as a couple when you aren't. We want to help you get what you are entitled to and avoid all the stress and upset that problems like this cause. If you are living with your partner as a couple, you must claim any benefits as a couple.

The benefits office will take both of your incomes and savings into account when working out if you are entitled to benefits. People are often told that if their partner stays over 2 or 3 nights a week that it counts as living together. It does not. Others are told that if they are still living with their ex, even though they are not a couple, that they must still claim benefits as a couple — this is also not true.

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We will show you how to sort it out. If your partner has a driving license or is the registered owner of a car, these documents are excellent evidence as you are legally required to keep the address on them up to date. Evidence of important post like phone bills or bank statements that are sent to their home address will also help. When you give the agency the evidence, get a receipt or if you are posting it get a certificate of posting from the post office this is free.

If your benefits have been stopped, ask for them to be reinstated. Ask how long that will take and make a note of it, along with the name of the person you spoke to and the time and date. Depending on your circumstances, one or both of you should make a new claim in their name only. You will need to prove that you are no longer living as a couple. If you used to have a joint bank account, you should close it.

You should let your friends and acquaintances know that you are no longer a couple.


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  • It can feel like it makes very little sense to live like this, particularly if you have children together, but this is how you have to make it work if you are to be entitled to benefits. It can be quite difficult to prove some of these things. You should expect a benefits officer to come round to check on your arrangements. If you have difficulty convincing the benefits office of your situation, get help from an adviser.

    If you have split up and now live in separate accommodation, make a new claim in separate names. Use the calculator on the Turn2us website to work out what help you might each be entitled to Benefits calculator. If you were claiming any benefits as a couple, inform the relevant office you have split up and are making a new claim in your own name.

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    You might do. So if your partner earnsa good wage you are likely to get less benefit or none at all. If each of you brings children from a previous relationship to the new family, only one child can count as the eldest for child benefit purposes. If you have been receiving Bereavement Allowance following the death of your husband, wife or civil partner, your payments will stop when you move in with a new partner. If your relationship ends however, your claim can be re-instated. Bereavement Allowance stops when you reach State Pension age anyway.