As Civil Partnerships are opened to all, here’s a timely reminder of what you need to know.
Heterosexual couples who do not want to get married can now legally enter into civil partnerships instead. This is a breath of fresh air for those couples who view the institution of marriage as nothing more than archaic gender inequality!
However, aside from providing that all important breath of fresh air, what you may not know is civil partnerships also offer the couple concerned and their families a wave of additional legal protections. A couple entering into a civil partnership will benefit from the tax free “spouse exemption” and their families will potentially benefit from a transferable nil rate band on the second death (up to an additional £325,000 tax free).
But if you are going to take advantage of these tax benefits, you will need to review your Will!
Current figures suggest there are over 3 million couples co-habiting in the UK and under the previous system, those co-habiting outside of marriage may potentially have lost their rights to inheritance, pensions and even the property they shared with their partner.
Although this legislation will help some people, siblings, long term friends or couples in partnerships outside of marriage/civil partnerships sharing property could still suffer injustice.
It will be interesting to see the impact this change in legislation will have as people who do not want to formalise their relationship with marriage will probably still not want to take the civil partnership route even with the tax sweetener.
But again if you think civil partnership is for you, it is important to note that a marriage or civil partnership will revoke your existing Will so please make sure that before you take the next steps, you talk to a solicitor and make sure you have a valid Will in place for after your wedding or civil partnership ceremony.