We know that wills aren’t always at the forefront of people’s minds. In fact, they rarely are, and we usually only think about wills if someone close to us dies.
The truth is, a will is one of the most important documents you will create in your life. It is your legacy and will lay out plans for how your loved ones will be catered for in the event of your death.
There are many areas for disputes when a will isn’t in place, and perhaps even more so in the LGBT+ community. From long term cohabiting partners to adoptive parents and children from previous relationships, even instances where families have fallen out, there is a lot of scope for discussion or disagreement if plans are not clearly laid out.
We hope that we can help you understand the importance of having a clear, comprehensive will in place, and can support you through the writing of it if necessary.
Same-Sex Couples who are Married or in a Civil Partnership
All married or civil partnered couples are treated in the same way, no matter their make-up. With a formal legal union, you can expect equal treatment upon a partner’s death.
This includes being exempt from paying inheritance tax on money or property left to them by their spouse. If you do have high value assets which would go beyond the threshold of £325,000, it is worthwhile seeking professional advice on inheritance tax planning to ensure you have a tax-efficient will in place.
If you die without a will and have no children, your spouse will get everything. If you do have children, your spouse will receive everything up to the value of £250,000. Beyond that, any remaining assets will be split 50/50 between the spouse and the children.
Living together but not Married or in a Civil Partnership
Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights when it comes to inheritance. Whether you have lived together for 2 years or 20 years, if there is no legal union in place, the process of inheritance isn’t as straightforward.
Without laying down your own wishes for where your assets will go when you die, the rules of intestacy will come into play.
Providing for your Loved Ones
We understand that all families are different; most are very supportive and open to their LGBT+ family members, but this isn’t always the case.
If you have no children, the rules of intestacy state that the next in line to inherit will be your parents, or siblings. The rules of intestacy don’t include a cohabiting partner. If you don’t have a good relationship with a parent or a sibling, you will need to make your wishes clear while you are alive.
Avoid lengthy, tiresome disputes amongst family members by making your wishes clear from the outset.
Key considerations for LGBT+ parents
- Who will look after your children and support them into adulthood?
If neither you nor your partner are around to look after your children, which trusted friend or family member would you like to take good care of them on your behalf? Who do you trust to look after their inheritance until they are old enough to access it?
Knowing that someone you wholeheartedly trust will be taking care of the best interests of your child if you are not able to, should provide you with peace of mind that they will always be okay.
- Who are the legal parents of your children?
If a non-biological parent has not adopted any children you parent together, their right to custody needs to be made clear in the will. Does your partner have children from a previous relationship? If you want to provide for them too, this should be made clear in your will
Creating a comprehensive will
This may all sound a little daunting, but when you write your will with us, you are in good hands. Our will writing specialists will provide a completely tailored approach to suit your family setup and your wishes.
Our team are sensitive in their approach, but thorough in ensuring that everything you need to mention is included.
To speak with our team, call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.