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Expansion of Civil Partnerships to heterosexual couples

Why, what, and how does it affect me?

Following the historic case of Steinfeld & Keidan -v- Secretary of State 2018 this time last year, which found that to deny heterosexual couples was discriminatory, the Government have agreed to expand the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership.

The Civil Partnerships, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act 2019 was given Royal Assent on the 28th March 2019, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 has not yet been amended to reflect the change. This amendment must be actioned by 31st December 2019.

The Civil Partnership Act puts couples who register their partnership in the same position as married couples (marriage was of course expanded to same-sex couples in March 2014) in terms of taxation benefits and succession in a situation of intestacy.  But most importantly, a Civil Partnership, like a marriage, will revoke an earlier will, unless it is made in contemplation of said civil partnership, so don’t forget to update your Will.

When the Civil Partnership Act first came into force, many laws were amended to include a civil partnership when referencing a spouse.  However, this also means that when you enter into a civil partnership your previous Will becomes invalid and you will need to make a new one (as is the case with marriage).

Finally, the dissolution of a civil partnership, like a marriage, renders any appointment of the civil partner as executor null and any gift to them will fail as of the date of the dissolution.  So, make sure you review your Will in these circumstances to ensure you have, and are happy with, your reserve position.

Further special consideration needs to be considered if there is any foreign element in your Estate.

For advice on how a civil partnership affects your estate and advice in relation to your Will please don’t hesitate to contact our private client department or Anna Lochhead direct on 0330 0947 390 or at

Additionally, for advice on marriage, civil partnership or dissolution of either please don’t hesitate to contact our family department or Corinne Parke direct on 0330 2000 065 or at


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