Sisha fears that new laws may mean that she will not be able to assign her shared ownership of the house to her daughter in her will. Sisha asks estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich for guidance.
I’ve just found out that the new laws in South Australia state that when I die, my half ownership of our house goes to my partner, and I won’t be able to leave my share in my will to my only adult child, who isn’t my partner’s biological child. I have put everything I had into buying my house knowing that one day, when I go, she will have a roof over her head. I have nothing else. Is there a way to protect her inheritance?
A. Sisha, the short answer is yes. See a local specialist estate planning lawyer (your local Law Society/Institute can recommend specialists) who can assist with appropriate steps.
You can change the way you own your jointly owned property so that your share is controlled by your will. You can then leave your share to your child. If you wish your partner to live in the house for a period after you pass away, you can create a right for him in your will to occupy the property for a specific period of time (even life), and at the end of that time your partner either has to pay your child for her half of the property, or the property is sold and the proceeds of sale divided.