A man claiming to be in a 25 year secret same-sex de facto relationship has been awarded $300,000 from his late partner’s estate.
In what appears to be the first same-sex Will dispute in Victoria, Juanito Estrella was yesterday awarded the legacy after a Supreme Court civil trial against the adult children of his late partner Leon Wesley George Robins, who died at the age of 82 leaving an estate worth more than $2.5 million.
In his most recent Will, dated 2005, Mr Robins left equal shares to his two daughters and two sons, but left nothing to his secret partner, despite including him in two of four previous Wills.
Mr Estrella claimed that he had long been in a loving, domestic relationship with Mr Robins since Mr Robins paid for him to visit Australia in 1983 when they began a “genuine domestic relationship” at Mr Robins’ home in Macleod. He claimed that their relationship continued until Mr Robins’ death even though he had been working and living away from Melbourne for much of the 12 years before Mr Robin’s death. Mr Estrella sought $900,000 from the estate on the basis that he was in the same position as a second spouse.
However, Mr Robins’ children denied there was a romantic or de facto relationship between. Instead, they claimed that Mr Estrella was a boarder and at most there was a relationship of friendship or convenience, which meant that their father had no responsibility to make provision for Mr Estrella in his Will.
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