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Same Sex Marriage: Consider Impact on Inheritance

The topic of same sex marriage has been in the headlines recently. Looking beyond the headlines, there is a practical issue that should be considered by any Civil Partners who might be considering dissolving their partnership in order to get married.

make a new Will in contemplation of marriageIt is important to be aware that any gifts in a Will they may have made to their Civil Partner will be null and void. This is because the law in relation to Wills states that when a Civil Partnership is dissolved, the Civil Partner is treated from that date as having pre-deceased their former Civil Partner. Therefore any gifts are incapable of being passed to them.

One way to circumnavigate this would be to make a new Will in contemplation of marriage. (Perversely, if a new Will was made not in contemplation of marriage, that too would be void upon marriage).

These provisions apply just as much to couples who divorce and then re marry.

Only time will tell how many people in Civil Partnerships choose to dissolve their partnership and marry – but beneath the headlines it is important to understand this aspect of the law and how it will impact on a same sex couple deciding to marry.

Our estate planning team here at Napthens can advise you on this. Please contact me or one of my colleagues if you would like to discuss further.