Civil Partnerships and Cohabitees - Wills

Thursday 2nd January 2020

As of 31 December 2019, heterosexual couples can enter into civil partnerships and indeed it was reported in the news that several couples had decided to proceed with a civil partnership on that date. 

However what legal impact does that have if you enter into a civil partnership? 

If you already have an existing Will (unless it was made specifically referring to the forthcoming civil partnership) then that Will is revoked when you enter into a civil partnership.  It is therefore strongly advisable to make a new Will as soon as possible to ensure that you leave your assets to those whom you wish to benefit.  If you do not have a Will, then your civil partner may not receive all your assets depending on how much your estate is worth.

In addition, inheritance tax exemptions will now apply in the same way to civil partners as to married couples so depending on the size of your estate you can consider inheritance tax planning when making Wills.

Cohabitees – If you are living together and are not married and not entering into a civil partnership your cohabitee will receive nothing unless you make a Will specifically benefitting your cohabitee.  Failure to make Wills could result in the surviving cohabitee seeking to bring a claim against the estate if the cohabitee meets the legal requirements for this.  Therefore the best solution is to make Wills setting out how you wish your estate to be dealt with.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our private client legal advisors to discuss making your Wills please telephone 01384 811811 or click here.

Elaine Williams

Solicitor and Head of the Private Client Department, Merry Hill and Walsall