Three Legal Assumptions to Avoid

3 common assumptions people tend to have about the law and their property interests, which can (and do) land people in difficult financial and emotional situations.

Article by Holly McCoy, Legal & Program Officer for Bushfire Community Legal Program

Here at the Bushfire Community Legal Program (BCLP), we want to ensure South Australians are well prepared and understand their potential legal risks.

During our time delivering the BCLP (and other legal services in the past), we have come to realise there are (at least!) 3 common assumptions people tend to have about the law and their property interests, which can (and do) land people in difficult financial and emotional situations.

We have heard the below statements all too often. Whilst we can only skim the surface in this article, we want to
make sure you walk away from having read this with a slightly better understanding of how the law works in each of these scenarios, what that might mean for you or your loved ones, and what measures you might need to consider taking to ensure your financial security and preparedness moving forward.

1. “We own the house together”

2. “If we break up, I am entitled to half of the property”

3. “If my partner dies, I will inherit everything anyway – so we don’t need wills”

These assumptions tend to have considerable impact following a disastrous event (like a bushfire): some grants are based upon property ownership (i.e. only available/paid out to the owner of an impacted property), relationships can deteriorate and, sadly, lives can be lost. We hope the above information helps to debunk some of these assumptions and encourages you to think about your personal affairs and preparedness.

After all, you know what they say about people who make assumptions…

Proactive community members, community organisations, Councils, and Government Agencies are encouraged to contact BCLP about potential education sessions in SA communities. The BCLP is provided by Community Justice Services SA. Visit the BCLP’s Facebook Page for more information (please feel free to like and share the page too!). To contact BCLP, call 1300 850 650 or email [email protected].

Originally posted on WoTL News, December 2022:

Find out more about WoTL at:

About the Author
About Bushfire Community Legal Program

BCLP is a free legal service, aimed at assisting families/individuals, small businesses, and community organisations in high-risk communities across SA with their bushfire preparedness, relief, recovery, and resilience. Our focus is primarily on free legal education – providing and empowering these communities with the information and tools they need to prepare for and, potentially, mitigate, their losses in the wake of a bushfire.

Please note: This article has been produced for information purposes only. It does not constitute, nor should it be relied upon as, legal or financial advice. It is also only accurate as at date of publication, being: 13 December 2022 We cannot and do not guarantee its ongoing accuracy, as changes in the law may occur. It is strongly encouraged readers obtain independent legal and financial advice. For referral information, contact Community Legal Centres SA on 08 8121 4473. For referrals to a private (fee-for-service) lawyer, to have some of the abovementioned documents drafted, call the Law Society SA on 08 8229 0200.

Photo by Ian MacDonald on Unsplash

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