In our 20 years of helping clients, we have written many Wills for single sex couples. I have been asked to write blogs and other articles regarding planning for single sex couples many times and each time I have struggled. So, I decided that as part of the article I would explain why I stumble each time.
The reason is there is no difference and hence no article to write. The fundamental advice remains the same whether you are a single sex couple or a heterosexual couple. You need a Will.
Whether you are single sex or heterosexual, if you are a couple and you want to provide for each other at first death, if you are not married or civil partnered, there is no protection for your partner. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act ’75 (see our other blog) does not make any provision for or any recognition of a partner. Yes, if you are a dependant, which a partner could be construed as, you have a claim but a much inferior claim to those of a spouse or civil partner. Your partner may end up with nothing.
My advice to that couple, whether heterosexual or single sex, will be that they each need to have an appropriately drafted Will.
In the very early days of Family Wills, prior to the introduction of Civil Partnership, the tax planning we could offer using a Will was quite limited. However, since 2005 (for Civil Partnership), the advice for single sex couples regarding Inheritance Tax remains exactly the same as for a heterosexual couple – get a well-crafted Will each that has the appropriate planning within it and/or get married or civil partnered. Not everyone wants to hear that advice, but when I can quantify how much Inheritance tax they will save, they often consider the option very carefully.
So, every aspect written in our website that mentions couples is not exclusive to heterosexual or single sex couples because it really doesn’t matter – it is relevant to both.