Since 5 December 2005, registered gay and lesbian Civil Partners are treated equally to married couples when it comes to Wills. Also, same-sex couples who have decided not to register under the Civil Partnership Act are given a small amount of recognition, as stated above.
If you had a will before becoming Civil Partners, this became automatically revoked on your Civil Partnership Registration. You are now deemed to have no will, until you have re-written it. We recommend that you seek to re-write your will as soon as practicably possible following your registration. (See a list of gay friendly solicitors, at the base of this page). If you do not have a will the intestacy law dictates that your partner can receive up to £200,000 of your estate with the balance being divided between your parents, siblings and your partner (just as for married couples).
If you are Civil Partners and sign a new will after registration your estate will be dealt with according to your wishes in that will.
Same-sex Couples Not Registered As Civil Partners
Same-sex partners who are not Civil Partners, are given no automatic rights following their partners' death. Can you imagine having to deal with the loss of your partner and at the same time having to fight to keep the house you live in? Without a will, this could happen.
Many same sex couples own property together, can you recall when you purchased the property whether your Solicitor advised you to own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common? We would not be surprised if you had never heard these terms before or understand what they mean. Many solicitors would assume that same-sex partners would wish to own their property as tenants in common, if they did, when one partner dies their share will only pass to the person they have named in their will. If they do not have a will, it will pass firstly to their parents and if they are not alive to brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, the list goes on, it goes on for quite a way, but it doesn't include a same sex partner.
If you are not registered Civil Partners and do not make provision for your partner in your will, upon your death they can apply to the court for help. However, this can be an expensive legal battle, it can also be a hard battle to fight. Legally you or your partner have to show to the court that you were dependent upon the deceased. What if you both earn similar amounts and contribute equally? In this situation it can be difficult to show that you were dependant on the deceased and your claim could fail.
There are many ways that both you and your partner can be protected by making a will. Don't delay it any further, get your affairs in order. Seek advice.