Robert and Peter, whose real names cannot be used for legal reasons, were in a relationship for 26 years when Robert died in 2011 following a lengthy illness. In his will, Robert left $100,000 to Peter along with the couple’s Adelaide Hills home, bequeathing a further $2 million in cash and assets to an unnamed Adelaide college.
In recognition of the relationship and of Peter’s role as Robert’s carer during his illness, South Australian Supreme Court Justice Tim Stanley increased Peter’s cash inheritance to $1 million and recognised him as Robert’s legal partner.
Marriage equality advocates have praised the decision as a step forward, but say it highlights the importance of legal recognition.
“I welcome the same-sex marriage bill…because it will give same-sex partners a quick and easy way to prove their relationship status instead of being forced to take expensive and traumatic court cases,” Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome told the Adelaide Advertiser.
Justice Stanley rejected the claim that Robert was mentally impaired when he wrote the will, and a significant amount of the inheritance will still go to the college named in the will.