Will writing for members of the LGBTQ+ community – What to consider
It’s Pride month and in response our focus in this blog is the how writing a Will is important for everyone, but especially important for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Wills and the issue of unmarried co-habiting
Over half of all co-habiting couples in the UK are members of the LGBTQ+ community and as such a Will is vitally important to protect your partner.
If you are in a partnership and not married, you are not automatically entitled to the estate of your partner without a Will; the estate would go through the ‘rules of intestacy’ and the Court will automatically deal with the estate, often leaving the remainder of funds to either children or the legal next of kin (parents, siblings etc). This could mean that your partner would be forced to leave the joint home and for it to be sold. There are many more reasons to write a Will; you can see our Top Ten Reasons here.
Furthermore, if you are not married and you do leave your estate to your partner, then your partner may be forced to pay inheritance tax on the whole estate and use up their taxable income. This is due to the inheritance tax rules being written to favour married couples. Therefore, ensuring you have spoken to a qualified Will and Estate planner is important so that correct Estate planning is undertaken to ensure your partner is supported and correct tax-reliefs are taken advantage of.
Wills and Married LGBTQ+ couples
Although in today’s modern society within the UK, married LGBTQ+ couples are viewed equally when in relation to estate planning and inheritance tax, there are areas where having an up to date Will are incredibly important. One of the main areas is in relation to children.
The rules of intestacy are unfortunately still based on couples having children that are biologically their own, although society has changed how many families now have children and this is especially common within the LGBTQ+ community. This means that without a Will, guardianship of children will fall within the rules of intestacy, meaning that unless adopted by both parents, children will often go to their nearest biological family members, not automatically the other partner, even if married.
Therefore, ensuring that you have sought advice from a Will and Estates specialist, that an up to date Will is in place and all guardianship is clear in the event of one or both parents’ death is incredibly important.
Wills and Transgender Individuals
The main issues in relation to Wills and Transgender individuals falls mainly with ensuring that Wills are up to date and include the correct language in respect to the gender of an individual.
Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, the law acknowledged an individual’s right to legally change their gender. Under this Act they could obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate which corrected the gender which they have listed on their identification documents.
The issues that arise are when a Will has not been changed to reflect an individual’s gender change. For example, if a Will states that a estate is being left ‘my daughter’ listing their previous legal name but legally their child has transitioned is now recognised as male, the estate may have to be referred back to the courts and an application made to the court to ensure that they inherited following their Gender Recognition Certificate.
Therefore, ensuring that you ensure that any family members keep their Wills up to date and make changes in relation to gender recognition is very important.
You can read more on Will Writing for Transgender and Non-Binary individuals here.
If you have any queries in relation to the above points, please feel free to contact us to discuss.
Happy Pride 2022 from everyone at Glamorgan Legacy Ltd!