Carla Brown
Partner, Solicitor and Head of Wills, Trusts & Probate
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Date Published:13 Jul 2018 Last Updated:23 Oct 2021

The importance of writing a will for the LGBT community

LGBT+ Legal Advice

It never seems like the most fun thing to do but writing a Will and ensuring that your affairs are well structured is really important for the LGBT community.

A Will can ensure that you provide in the most tax efficient way for those that you leave behind. If you don’t, the rules of intestacy will take effect which have been set by Parliament and make provision for your estate to be left in a set order to your
nearest living relatives. This could very well not be the person or people that you would want to benefit. For example, you may not want both your parents to receive something, or perhaps you do not get on with all your siblings.

What surprises a lot of people is that partners are not entitled to anything, so even if you have been in a very long term relationship, unless you provide for them in your Will they could be left with nothing.

It is possible for people who have lived together in a relationship for more than 2 years to make a claim for provision under the
Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act (the Inheritance Act) but your partner has to show that they were in some way dependant on you. This can be a long, drawn-out and stressful process with no certain outcome at what is already a difficult time, so it is much better to leave things clearly and as you want them in your Will.

The LGBT community are also likely to have used fertility treatments or surrogacy when having children. Unless your Will is carefully worded your children might not benefit, as the legal definition of who is a parent in those cases may well differ from
your expectations. Again, an application could be made in those circumstances under the Inheritance Act but would you want to put them through that?

It is similar in respect of your financial arrangements. If you have a Death in Service benefit at work or Pension arrangements, for example, unless you have kept your nominations up to date, the trustees who are responsible for paying out the money on death may not recognise long term partners and look to the closest family instead.

Here at Ellis Jones our specialist LGBT solicitors always get to know you and your circumstances so we are able to guide you about these matters and any others that may be relevant to you. Our Will Solicitors will provide tax advice to ensure that your estates are structured in the most efficient way and generally help you organise your affairs to ensure your loved ones are well looked after, giving you peace of mind to enjoy life!