Civil Partnerships & Wills: What to Know

There are a number of opposite sex couples in the UK who in recent years have been looking for alternatives to a traditional marriage, with one area that has become increasingly sought being that of civil partnerships.

Notably, as of 31st December 2019, the Civil Partnership, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act 2019 comes into force, which enables opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.

What does the Civil Partnership, Marriages & Death Act 2019 change?

This Act follows on from a previous Supreme Court judgement on the issue, which means that over 3 million cohabiting opposite sex couples in the UK are now entitled to formalise their relationship via a civil partnership.

While this is a significant change, in terms of Wills and civil partnerships, there are many people who do not appreciate the effect that entering a marriage or forming a civil partnership has on their estate when they die.

How does entering a civil partnership affect existing legal rights?

The first major change you should be aware of is that a civil partnership automatically revokes a Will, unless it is made specifically in contemplation of the civil partnership, as per section 18(B) of the Wills Act 1837.

This means that those couples who enter into a civil partnership will not have valid Wills following the formation of their civil partnership, and if they were to die prior to putting a new Will in place, their estate would pass in accordance with the intestacy rules.

This may not necessarily reflect the wishes of the parties to the civil partnership. The intestacy rules can throw up all kinds of unintended consequences.

Should you put a Will in place before entering a civil partnership?

If you are therefore thinking of entering into a civil partnership, it is definitely worth seeking advice from a Wills solicitor to ensure that your Will is either made in contemplation of the civil partnership, or that a new Will is prepared following the formation of the partnership to ensure that your Will accurately reflects your wishes.

How do you find the right guidance on civil partnerships and Wills?

Here at Dickinson Parker Hill, our Will solicitors have been advising clients in Ormskirk, Southport and across the wider region for many years.

As well as being highly experienced, we also stay up-to-date on all legal updates within our fields of expertise, allowing us to offer expert guidance on the ramifications surrounding Wills and civil partnerships.

We can help advise you in relation to these issues, so if you need any advice in this area, please contact us for further information.