When people remarry, it is generally a happy occasion for their extended families.
Occasionally, however, it creates opposing groups of children and when one of the parents dies, and the couple’s combined property passes to the survivor, simmering tensions can escalate.
This can result in a Family Protection or Relationship Property claim against the surviving partner by the deceased partner’s estate.
An example of this in the case of Tod v Tod  3 NZLR 397, where the deceased husband’s adult children brought relationship property proceedings against their stepmother. If they succeeded, it would bring assets into their father’s estate for a Family Protection claim. The judge held that the estate could not challenge the relationship property agreement entered into by the deceased and his widow.
The moral is clear. When people remarry, they should enter into a relationship property agreement. This protects the parties during their lifetimes and the survivor when one of them passes away.
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