Opposite sex civil partnerships and Wills


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Readers may well be aware that it is now possible for opposite sex couples to become civil partners, as opposed to becoming married.

This legislation was first proposed by the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration, etc.) Act 2019 which was first issued in March 2019 and which obliged the government to put permanent legislation in place by 31 December 2019 to allow this to take place. 

As a result, the Civil Partnerships (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 were issued on 5 November 2019 and became law on 2 December 2019. 

At present, therefore, it is possible for either opposite sex or same sex couples to enter into either a civil partnership or a marriage.  In addition, it is also possible for same sex civil partnerships to be converted to a marriage and there is a consultation underway as to whether the government will allow opposite sex married couples to convert their marriages to civil partnerships and legislation is anticipated in that regard in this calendar year. 

Currently, converting from civil partnership to marriage does not revoke a Will.
However, it is important to note that to enter into either a civil partnership or a marriage will revoke any existing Will unless it has been drawn up in contemplation of such an event. 

Equally, on divorce by way of decree absolute or in dissolution of a civil partnership, this will also have an impact on how any Will may operate. 

Importantly, for those who do not have a Will, the way the intestacy rules work will change upon the occasion of entering into a civil partnership or marriage. 

It is therefore as important as ever to ensure that your personal affairs are in order before – and certainly after – any marriage or civil partnership has taken place. 

For more information, please contact any member of the private wealth team.

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