How will moving from a civil partnership to a marriage affect your Will?

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Our clients are a gay couple who wrote their Wills while in a civil partnership. They have recently married so came to us and asked if they needed to update their Wills, asking:

Do we need to rewrite our wills? Is marriage and civil partnership viewed as the same?

As a result of the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which came into force on 13 March 2014, and the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014, which came into force on 10 December 2014, civil partners are now able to convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

The regulations state that the conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage will not revoke an existing will, does not affect any disposition in an existing will, and also allows references to a civil partner to be read as referring to a spouse.

With this in mind, the change from a civil partnership to a marriage will not revoke their existing wills.

In this instance, however, we would generally recommend that clients have their Wills reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure that they remain up-to-date.

Why do I need to review or change my Will regularly?

If you have a major life event change that alters your personal circumstances you should have your Will reviewed to make sure that it is still valid.

Major life changes include buying a new house, acquiring significant sums of money, buying or selling a business, having children, getting married or becoming separated or divorced.

Many contentious probate issues are caused by people passing away with an old or out-of-date Will.

Anything that causes ambiguity can lead to issues, so keeping your Will up-to-date is very important, especially if you have any problematic family relationships or significant wealth.

However, please be aware that ‘significant wealth’ can apply to anyone who owns their own home in London these days, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t apply to you!

If you have any questions or are unsure whether your Will needs updating, don’t just leave it to chance. Make an appointment to have your Will reviewed by one of our inheritance specialists today!

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