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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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My partner, a GP, made a recent suicide attempt whilst we

Customer Question

My partner, a GP, made a recent suicide attempt whilst we (incl. my 2 young children) were staying at a local motel. His estranged wife - we've been 'together' as a couple since June 2013, but have been intimate since 2010 - has flown up from Victoria with their 14yo son. She only knew he was sick bc I told her. His parents have flown over from the UK, & are residing in a holiday aptmt with the estranged wife & child.
In the meantime, his estranged wife has cancelled/ reported stolen every credit card he has, & has emptied his accounts. This has left myself & my 2 young kids penniless - he insisted I quit working when we moved in together, & was always extremely secretive/ controlling about money issues.
In terms of assets, he's left behind a used 4wd & a dzn gadgets (smartfones, tablets, etc). I was contemplating selling these over the weekend, as our rent runs out on Monday. There is no indication that will recover - he is in a coma, & his parents (who simply WONT talk to me) refuse to cease life support or contemplate organ donation (which contravenes his wishes).
Can I sell these items legally? We really don't have a penny without him, which is the way he liked it. Have I got power of attorney? If not, who does & how do I get it???
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

If you have been living together since June 2013 then it appears you have been living together for 2+ years so you will qualify as a de facto spouse. That should give your reasonable standing both to claim a share of his estate, should he die, and to apply to be appointed control of his financial affairs and/or as guardian to make medical or care decisions for him if he is unable (including decisions to donate organs or turn of life support). Such will require an application to the relevant state court or tribunal (This differs from state to state, but if it is Victoria as I'm inferring from your question, you would need to make an application to VCAT and can read about this here: http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/adv/disputes/guardians-administrators).

If your partner has assets, because it appears you do qualify as a de facto, you likely have a strong claim on your de facto spouse's assets, which means that you can likely find a lawyer willing to assist you even if you cannot pay up front, but to protect your rights in a case like this you will need legal assistance and I would therefore strongly recommend you seek out a lawyer ASAP to assist you. If you need help finding a suitable lawyer contact the Law Society in your state (the Law Institute in Victoria) as they can refer you to suitable lawyers in your area.

I trust the above assists and wish you luck in this difficult situation.

Please rate my answer.

Patrick