Civil Partnership Wills

Civil partnerships and wills

 

Civil partnerships and wills can be a bit of a minefield, when it comes to estate planning and protecting your assets.

In the past, before formal civil partnerships were recognised, gay couples tended to have written wills which indicated that their partner was to be a beneficiary of their estate, in the event of their death.  This is simply because a gay relationship was – and still is – not considered to be the same as a straight couple marriage, in the process of intestacy.

Remember though, that marriage revokes all existing wills, rather than reinforcing them.  This means that if you don’t prepare another will after having entered into a formal civil partnership, any previous wills will be classed as void and the process of intestacy will come into play.  Unfortunately, this still means that your partner will normally have to share the proceeds of your estate with your family, unless the estate has little value.

Civil Partnership Wills

If you have undertaken a formal civil partnership ceremony, the English laws of inheritance, intestacy and Inheritance Tax will now apply to you, too.
 
Currently, should your partner die without having prepared a Will but after having had children, you will only inherit the first £250,000 of their Estate. The rest will be divided between you and your deceased partner’s children if they have any. If there are no children, you’ll receive the first £450,000, plus half of the remaining balance. The rest will be divided up between their surviving relatives.
 
If however, your partner has a Civil Partnership Will drawn up before they die, you will receive their entire Estate, without being liable to pay any Inheritance Tax.
 
Unfortunately, without a civil partnership ceremony having taken place, you will be considered as a “common law” couple, and should your partner die, you will inherit nothing and cannot apply for probate. Instead, your partner’s children, parents or siblings will stand to inherit their Estate.

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