Have you thought about entering a Civil Partnership?
The issue is in the spotlight after Prime Minister Theresa May revealed potential changes in the law at the recent Conservative Party Conference.
The Prime Minister said all couples in England and Wales should be able to choose to have a Civil Partnership rather than get married – at the moment the law only applies to same-sex couples.
So, you might want to think about how it could affect your inheritance rights and your Will, if you have one.
It could take a while before legislation is brought forward to change the law around Civil Partnerships as ministers start to consult on the technical detail.
There are 3.3 million co-habiting couples in the UK – nearly half of whom have children – and many don’t realise is that they have far fewer inheritance rights compared to married couples than they may have thought.
The same applies to property and pension rights Civil partners, as the rules stand, do get these benefits.
So, it may be worth considering the following rules relating to Wills which apply to people in Civil Partnerships.
- If you enter into a Civil Partnership, any Will you have in place automatically becomes void. This means if you pass away before you have sorted out a new Will, the law will consider you to have died ‘intestate’, and you lose control of your inheritance.
- You can make a Will ‘in contemplation’ of your Civil Partnership, naming the other person involved. This can be done before the registration of your new partnership. This means the new Will can be in place before your old Will becomes void.
- If you decide to convert your Civil Partnership into a marriage, this does not revoke your existing valid Will.
- If you dissolve a Civil Partnership, it does not void your Will, but could have an impact if your former partner is named as a beneficiary, executor or trustee. Your estate will be dealt with as though your ex-partner died on the date the Civil Partnership ended, so you may well need to update your Will.
Remember, whether you’re married, in a Civil Partnership or living with a partner, you can specify how you want your inheritance to be handled if you make a Will.