Heterosexual civil partnerships are now legal

Heterosexual civil partnerships are now legal

After a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 has been amended to allow heterosexual couples to formalise their relationship with a civil partnership as an alternative to marriage. This took effect on 31st December 2019.

With approximately 84,000 heterosexual couples expected to form civil partnerships in 2020, we took a closer look at the potential impact of this new status.

In brief, there is not much difference in the treatment of civil partners vs. married couples when it comes to the administration of an estate.

For example, when someone with an existing Will gets married or enters into civil partnership, the Will is automatically revoked, becomes void and must be updated as soon as possible to maintain its validity. Otherwise, that individual’s estate would be distributed according to the rules of intestacy upon their death.

Additionally, any Inheritance Tax exemptions made available to a surviving spouse who is a beneficiary of their spouse’s assets, are equally available to surviving civil partners. Civil partners are also able to transfer their unused nil rate band allowance to their partner in order to reduce the potential tax payable on the second death, akin to spouses.

A key benefit of this option is the stability and legal recognition available to the 3.3 million cohabiting couples in the UK who may desire this assurance, but do not wish to be married.

Please get in touch if you have questions about administering an estate or updating your Will after a significant life event.

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