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Migrant wives in Australia are often unaware of their rights in their dead husband's will

Migrant wives at a graduation ceremony. Source: YONHAP NEWS AGENCY-AAP

Legal professionals are hoping to raise awareness about this vulnerable group of wives who can be left at risk when their husband dies. A Melbourne lawyer is concerned about migrant women who marry Australian men and are unaware of their rights when they are left off a will.

Legal groups in Australia have noticed a growing number of women, mostly from Asian countries, who marry older men but are left vulnerable and isolated when their husband dies.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn has dealt with four recent cases and had other queries from women wanting to challenge a will.

Melbourne based Senior associate Andrew Meiliunas says his clients often have limited English language skills and sometimes it is too late to help them. 

"I've noticed in the last few months, last year or so I'm acting for more and more women, migrant women predominantly from Asia, China, Vietnam and the Philippines who have married Australian men and they've met in a variety of ways, online," he says.

Mr Meiliunas says he has witnessed trends involving men who have previously been married with adult children which can result in cases of disputed wills.

"These women have no financial resources behind them, it's not like they've got wealth back in China, or Vietnam or the Philippines. They've often come here for a better life and so the relationship there is a real power imbalance," he adds.

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