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LEGAL & FINANCE: Why same sex couples about to wed need to update their wills.

Same sex couples looking forward to arranging a trip to the Registry Office once the the Civil Partnership Bill comes into force on December 5 need to update their wills, they have been warned.

The Institute of Professional Willwriters warns that such couples must not be lured into a false sense of security It is concerned that many will be cracking open the Champagne to celebrate the financial rights that are theirs under the terms of the Bill - pensions, life assurance, tax and other benefits - overlooking the impact on inheritance.

To date, many will have already arranged for the future of their same sex partner by drawing up a will that allows that partner to inherit everything, should they die. This is because, currently, the intestacy laws do not recognise the rights of a gay or lesbian partner.

Such a will is set to be revoked if the couple enter into a civil partnership, just as marriage revokes any will made prior to it.

The impact of this is that if apre-existing will is not amended before a couple enter into partnership, and a new will is not made afterwards, then the individual who had drawn up that will is going to die intestate - probably without their knowledge.

Although the civil partner, who would probably be the beneficiary of the previous will, would inherit under intestacy, they may not inherit everything.

Under the new law, if the deceased had no children their civil partner would receive their personal chattels, the first pounds 200,000 of the estate and half of any residue over that amount. The other half of the residue would pass to parents, if still alive, or, if not, to siblings
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 2, 2005
Words:283
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