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Implications of forming a Civil Partnership on your Will

Insights / / Bristol

Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2018, it is now legal for heterosexual couples to form a civil partnership. Civil partnerships, which were introduced in 2005, only allowed homosexual couples to be civil partners. A civil partnership offers the same legal protections as a marriage when it comes to property, pension, inheritance and tax entitlements.

Laura Ramos, Trainee Solicitor in our Private Client team, explains how this can affect you if you already have a Will or are considering making a new one.

How does this affect me?

We often encounter clients who have been co-habiting with their partners for many years but who, for various reasons, do not wish to marry and forming a civil partnership was not an option available to them. However, with the recent changes in the law, becoming civil partners could be an attractive option. As mentioned above, civil partners can benefit from favourable tax treatment, such as inheritance tax exemptions and certain transferable allowances. The Government estimates that about 84,000 heterosexual couples could form civil partnerships this year, with the first heterosexual civil partnership formed on New Year’s Eve.

Getting married and entering into a civil partnership can have implications if you already have an existing Will. When you marry or form a civil partnership, any existing Will is automatically revoked and is no longer valid. If your Will is no longer valid, and you die before making a new Will, the intestacy rules will determine how your estate is divided, which may be contrary to your wishes.

How can we help?

Our Private Client team can advise you on the advantages of entering into a civil partnership or getting married from an inheritance tax perspective and, if you are considering getting married or forming a civil partnership, we can prepare your new Will in contemplation of marriage or civil partnership. This does not mean that you need to marry or form a civil partnership but it will ensure that your Will remains valid if you decide to do so.

If you have any queries and would like to discuss this with a member of the team, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

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