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Mixed sex couple entered into a Civil Partnership? Make sure you are aware of the associated benefits.

23rd January 2020 by Kate Mansfield

Categories: What's New?

The New Year 2020 saw the advent of mixed sex couples being able to register a civil partnership in England and Wales, which had previously only been allowed for same-sex couples. If you and your partner are planning, or have already entered into, a civil partnership following this recent change in law then you should consider how this affects your estate.

A civil partnership is legally recognised and provides many of the benefits of marriage in terms of tax, pension entitlements and inheritance. Previously it was only a marriage that could provide such benefits for mixed sex couples. Contrary to what many people believe, ‘common law’ marriages are not legally recognised, so despite being with your partner for many years, you are not entitled to the same advantages that a married couple would enjoy.

A civil partnership only ends on death or if it has been formally brought to an end. You have to have been registered for at least one year before the partnership can be brought to an end.

In light of the benefits that such a partnership now brings, it is important to consider how this affects your Estate. In the same way a conventional marriage revokes a Will, so does registering a civil partnership. It is therefore extremely important that you review your existing arrangements. This is sensible in any event as there may now be tax planning opportunities and the tax treatment of your Estate on death will have changed.

It will now be possible to claim any unused nil rate band for inheritance tax (currently £325,000) on your death, from your late civil partner, as well as your own nil rate band. This could also apply to the residence nil rate band, subject to the criteria. There may be planning opportunities if you have been married before and your spouse/partner has died.

Whilst registering a civil partnership will give your partner equal status to a spouse under the intestacy rules it is advisable to make or review your Will to avoid those rules, which do not automatically mean everything goes to your partner.

Registered civil partners will now enjoy income tax and capital gains tax benefits and there may be other planning opportunities that can be considered.

If you would like further information on managing your estate please contact Kate Mansfield on or 01202 755980.

Kate Mansfield

Partner — Private Client

Direct dial: 01202 377853


kate mansfield
  • “We have had the pleasure of Kate’s sensitive and unwavering professional support for a number of years. She has always been able to combine her deep expertise, with practical context and a tone of voice that gently escorts you through, often difficult decisions. We could not recommend Kate highly enough, both professionally and personally.”

    Simon Bennett

  • “Kate was extremely knowledgeable, straightforward to deal with as well as sympathetic during what was a difficult time. I felt in good hands!”

    Elisabeth Bonelli

  • “We were treated with respect and felt our wishes were taken in consideration. The patience shown in helping us understand the implications of decisions was outstanding.”

    Francesca Remix

  • “Very efficient and welcoming. Understood my access requirements and my unique concerns thoroughly.”

    Hannah Fielding (wheelchair user)

  • “Mrs Mansfield has been exemplary in every respect. She is an excellent listener and has the ability to explain complex issues patiently and emphatically. We are fortunate in having her as our legal adviser.”

    Neville Osrin

  • “Professional, always available for a phone enquiry. Always informed me as thing's progressed. Excellent company with very pleasant and helpful front of house. My sincere thanks.”

    Susan Dawn Godfrey

  • “Kate took the trouble to understand the particularities affecting my Will and found sensible ways of dealing with them.”

    Peter Andrews

Kate is head of our Private Client Team and has 25 years’ experience in private client work, specialising in wills, tax planning and estate administration. Kate has worked in this area since she qualified and has assisted thousands of families and individuals.

Kate qualified as a solicitor in 1995 after obtaining a 2.1 in Law from the University of Kent. She completed her training contract with Laceys and became a partner in 2002.

Kate is a full member of the Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners (STEP) and sat on the STEP committee for 6 years. She has also taught on the Legal Executives course at Bournemouth & Poole College.

Kate enjoys the personal side of the work and the satisfaction of assisting the bereaved and families with complex affairs, whether it be complex financial aspects or those where a diplomatic hand is required. She prides herself on being able to explain the legal position in plain English.

Out of the office she enjoys keeping fit. She enjoys going to the gym and getting out into the Dorset countryside on her road bike. Cooking, particularly baking, is also a passion.

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