Civil Partnerships can void a will - have you updated yours?

If anyone out there was lucky enough to receive a proposal over Christmas, chances are you’re still up on cloud nine. However, whilst thinking about any preparations, you might also want to think about some of the legal implications and how this will affect you and your family.

Civil partnerships are relatively new, so very few people give consideration as to how they could affect someone’s will. For example, did you know that if you enter into a civil partnership, your will automatically becomes null and void? It’s not just civil partnerships either - the same applies when you get married.

Same sex or not, the rules still apply - as do the common myths surrounding marriage. For example, if your partner dies, any property or assets do not necessarily pass to the other spouse or civil partner, so if you don’t update your will, your loved ones could go without. There are also specific requirements in relation to any children whose parents enter into a mixed sex civil partnership. It has been reported in the press this week that couples are been told to re-register their children otherwise risk them being rendered “illegitimate”, thus limiting their inheritance rights owing  to a clause in the 1976 Legitimacy Act.

Any changes in your circumstances could lead you towards redrafting your will. This could include a marriage or civil partnership, but it could also include divorce, re-marriage, children and step children or if you receive an inheritance. If you do not include children or your chosen beneficiaries in  a will, your wishes for your estate may not be carried out depending on the circumstances.

It’s also worth considering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document at the same time as drafting a will. An LPA exists to protect you and your family, in the event that you lose mental capacity. The document names an attorney, nominated by you, to act on your behalf, pay any bills, rent or mortgage, allowing you peace of mind. An LPA can also deal with health and welfare matters  in the event that you are not be able to make these decisions  for yourself.

When getting engaged, you could be forgiven in thinking your will is the last on your list of things to consider when there’s celebrations to be had. However, many people also look at it as a way of protecting their civil partner in the event of their death. You can make a will in contemplation of your marriage or civil partnership. This will be effective both before and after a marriage or civil partnership.

If you have any questions relating to an LPA, or you would like some advice about drafting a will, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Liz Dalgetty

Liz Dalgetty

Consultant Solicitor & Notary Public

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502251

Office: Dorking Office