Civil Partnerships are legal relationships that became available from the end of 2005. They are only available for same-sex couples. This should not be confused with a couple just living together as ‘partners’ (whether same-sex or not) who have not entered into a formal legal relationship.
For Wills and inheritance, Civil Partnerships are treated just the same marriage. Thus if you are:-
- Single, even if you live with a ‘partner’, the only people to inherit from you (unless you say differently in a Will) will be your blood relatives.
- Entering into Civil Partnership, then the process automatically revokes all existing Wills (unless the Will has very specific instructions to the contrary)
- In a Civil Partnership, then your Civil Partner would receive much of your estate even without a Will – but NOT all of it (see Intestacy)
- Separated or in the process of ending a Civil Partnership, then there is no change to inheritance – your Civil Partner will still receive exactly the same as when you were living together, unless you update your Will
- Divorced (that is right through to granting of the equivalent of a Decree Absolute, not just a Decree Nisi), then your existing Will remains totally valid but your ex-Civil Partner is treated as if they died on the day of the divorce (so if named as Executor they could not act in the role and any gifts to them in the Will would fail).
A Civil Partnership is as significant as marriage as a life-changing event, and changes to it should be a reminder to update your Will.