We have extensive experience in helping couples with their legal needs. Whether you are married, unmarried or in a same sex relationship, we can help.
There are several important factors for couples to consider when planning their affairs. It is a common misconception that unmarried couples and non-civil partners will automatically inherit from their ‘common law’ partner (the partner they cohabit with) when they die. Having a professionally drafted Will ensures that a couples’ wishes will take effect, which may include protecting and providing for any children they may have together and/or from previous relationships. In the absence of a Will, the intestacy rules will apply. Under the intestacy rules, unmarried couples and non-civil partners are not entitled to inherit from each other’s estate.
If unmarried couples and non-civil partners are due to get married or enter into a civil partnership, it is essential that they update their Wills to include a clause stating that their Wills are being made in contemplation of marriage or civil partnership to their named partner. A failure to do so will revoke any existing Wills upon marriage meaning that the intestacy rules could apply.
If married couples and civil partners do not have Wills in place, the intestacy rules could also apply meaning that their spouse may not inherit the amount of assets that they had intended. The intestacy rules also do not provide for step-children.
Whether you are married, unmarried or in a same sex relationship, it is especially important to consider your Inheritance Tax position. For married couples and couples in a civil partnership, any amount left to a spouse/civil partner will be free of inheritance tax on the first death due to spouse exemption. However, inheritance tax may be due when the second person dies. Careful planning is therefore required to ensure that both estates qualify for any applicable inheritance tax allowances.
We also act for married and unmarried couples who wish to make Lasting Powers of Attorney appointing their partners to act for them should they become unable to make decisions about their property, finances and health and welfare. Being married does not automatically give a person the legal authority to act on their spouse’s behalf.
We can meet you at home, our office, your office or any other location to suit you. We also offer meetings by online video (such as Zoom, Skype and Teams) or by telephone.
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