Q: My partner and I have been together for nine years and entered into a civil partnership more than five years ago. We have not made Wills and my partner is reluctant to make one as he says the civil partnership entitles us to inherit from each other. I am not so sure, however, and as his father died of COVID19 in April and he inherited his father’s house, there would be a considerable amount of money in my partner’s estate if he were to die. So, would I automatically inherit everything? Or could his child from a previous relationship make a claim on his estate?
A: In the current uncertain times every adult should really make a Will, and those who made Wills some time ago should look at updating them, as circumstances and legislation may have changed in the interim.
Civil partners do have the same legal right to inherit from their partner as a spouse would in a marriage, and they have the same rights as married couples if one of them dies intestate, i.e. without making a Will. Many people do not, however, realise that if you have made a Will prior to entering into a civil partnership that Will is automatically revoked when the civil partnership is registered.
If you are in a civil partnership, and your partner does not leave a will, you must survive your partner by 28 days and your entitlement differs depending on whether your partner has any children, grandchildren or other issue. If your partner has no children or grandchildren or other issue living at his death, then you would be entitled to the entire estate. If your partner is survived by children or grandchildren or other issue, then you would only be entitled to the personal chattels, the statutory legacy (currently £250,000) plus one half of the remainder of the estate.
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