At the end of 2019, we saw civil partnerships between opposite-sex couples come into law, but what effect does this have on wills and probate law?
Your civil partner will be included as one your beneficiaries and will be entitled to administer your estate. The amount of your assets your civil partner will receive will depend upon whether you have any children and the value of your estate, so you should seek legal advice before relying upon the intestacy, or preferably, make a will to ensure that who you wish to inherit your assets, does so. This is especially important where you have children and your estate is worth more than £270,000.
It is important to note that this only applies if you have entered into a civil partnership. There continues to be no recognition of a legal status for couples who have lived together for many years, but who have not entered into marriage or civil partnership with one another.
Your assets will pass in accordance with your will. If at the time you are making your will, you intend to enter into a civil partnership with your partner, then make sure you tell your solicitor making the will, so that they can ensure that your will is not cancelled by entering into the civil partnership. If you have already entered into a civil partnership, then you will need to update your will as it will have been cancelled by the civil partnership.
Should the civil partnership not work out and you decide to go your separate ways or dissolve the civil partnership, you should seek legal advice about whether your will continues to meet your requirements.
Your civil partner will be treated in the same way as your spouse, so will be entitled to a widow or widower’s pension.
Again, it is important to note that this only applies if you have entered into a civil partnership. You will not have the same treatment if you have been living together, if even you have been doing so for many years.
Finally, congratulations to all of those couples who entered into a civil partnership on 31st December or will be entering into a civil partnership in 2020!