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Estate Planning and Financial Agreements in Relationships

Estate Planning and Financial Agreements

Today, many couples wish to enter a de facto relationship or marriage without intermingling their prior assets with their new partner. Obtaining professional legal help with Estate Planning and Financial Agreements may assist with that goal.

There can be many reasons why couples wish to protect their assets from a claim by their new partner, however, commonly, it is because:

  • the parties may have children from a previous relationship whom they wish to primarily benefit from their estate;
  • the parties may have suffered financially from previous relationship breakdowns and wish to protect themselves in the future; or
  • the parties have disparate financial assets and wish to clearly document the financial obligations of each party should the relationship end.


Using a Financial Agreement to set out your intentions

Entering into a Binding Financial Agreement (‘BFA’) under the Family Law Act Act – commonly known as a ‘pre-nup’ – is one way of recording your intentions and clearly setting out the financial rights of each party to the relationship, in the event of a relationship break-down or the death of one of the parties.


When to use a Financial Agreement

A BFA can be used if you are about to be married, entering a de facto or same-sex relationship, during the relationship, or upon termination of a relationship. However, it is suggested that the earlier a BFA is raised and finalised, the less likely it is to create difficulties in the relationship going forward. A BFA sets out the financial status of each party and how the assets, including those accumulated during the relationship, are to be divided upon separation or death.


When is a Financial Agreement binding

To be a legally binding agreement, both parties must comply with the provisions of section 90G of the Family Law Act Act (or 90UJ in the case of de facto relationships). This typically means they must at least have:

  • signed the agreement, and
  • received independent legal advice before signing.


Financial Agreements and Family Provision in Succession Law

A BFA cannot prevent a Family Provision claim being made against an estate in the event of the death of one of the parties. However, it may provide evidence as to the intentions of the parties to the relationship regarding the division of assets.


Contact us today for your Estate Planning and Financial Agreement needs

A BFA can be an important component for many couples in their estate planning arrangements. For advice on Estate Planning and Financial Agreements as well as estate administration matters, please contact a member of our experienced team or Family Law teams at Bell Legal Group on (07) 5597 3366 or email law@belllegal.com.au.


This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice.