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Ask a lawyer: Should I make a will?

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  1. Tim Hopkins 17 Sep 2009, 2:42pm

    The inheritance rules and the law in Scotland are different, although the general principle is the same: that it’s much better to make a will, especially if you have a partner you want to inherit from you and you are not civil partners. The Law Society of Scotland have a list of lawyers with experience of civil partnership and other same-sex partnership.

  2. Robert, ex-pat Brit 17 Sep 2009, 3:12pm

    So, in a civil partnership, if one of the partners dies without a will, the surviving partner y will only benefit so much from intestacy. Does this also apply to straight married couples, is the law exactly the same? Does anyone know the answer to this?

  3. Totally agree; we have a civil partnershipand wills; best to be on the safe side!

  4. Tim Robinson 17 Sep 2009, 3:51pm

    Robert, the law is exactly the same for Straight married couples and gay civil partners. If the estate is worth £125,000 or less then the surviving partner inherits all of it. If it is worth more than £125,000 the surviving partner will get £125,000 but the rest could be split between parents, children, aunts, uncles and the rest!

    Best to make a will and then your partner gets everything!

  5. Ask Tesco’s: Should I shop? Whoops!
    If your will is fairly simple, you can use the Totally Free Wills website online (which includes review by a solicitor) or, if you’d prefer to make your will in person, look at the National Free Wills Network scheme.

  6. good advice on this thread

  7. Brian Burton 18 Sep 2009, 7:22am

    My Civil Partner and I have a ‘Joint Will.’ Being in a Civil Partnership means if one of us kicks the bucket first, greedy relatives cannot contest the will in order to grab a share.

  8. Tim, thanks for clarification re. that threshold figure. Very interesting. My CP and I weren’t aware of this, though we are currently re-writing our wills. Do you think our bright competent Legal Executive who is not likely to have dealt with any, or many, Civilly Partnered couples before should be capable of overseeing our wills to ensure they are watertight? We have assumed she would be.

  9. Tim Hopkins 18 Sep 2009, 12:47pm

    Thanks to Pink News for adding an “England and Wales only” rider to the article.

    In Scotland the rule for a civil partner or married partner, if there is no will, is that you get the house you live in up to the value of £300,000 (assuming your partner owned it or part of it), the furniture up to the value of 24,000, and 75,000 from the cash estate (or 42,000 if your partner had children). Then on top of that you get half of anything left (except land or other buildings), or 1/3 if your partner had children.

    It’s worth noting that in England and Wales, if you enter a civil partnership, any will you have is (so I’ve been told) automatically cancelled. That’s not the case in Scotland, however – here the previous will remains effective until you replace it.

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