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Education needed for LGBTQ+ community on IHT rights

1 July 2019

A third of the LGBTQ+ community wrongly believe they would inherit a partner’s estate or become executor, according to a nationwide survey by Farewill.

As many as 33% of respondents from the LGBTQ+ community assumed they would have the same rights as married couples if they had been in a relationship (but unmarried) and co-habiting for over five years.

Nearly a fifth (17%) also wrongly thought that owning a house with their partner out of wedlock means their partner will automatically get the estate.

As many as three in 10 (30%) of the LGBTQ+ community believe that couples who have been together for more than five years should be legally treated the same way as married couples. However, a quarter (26%) said the estate and welfare of a family following a death is not as protected for those in the community as it is in the heterosexual community.

Yet, 18% of the community admitted to having a conflicted relationship with their partners or their own parents and as a result, would not want them to inherit part of their estate.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2016, 2.8% of marriages were between same-sex couples, an increase of 8.1% from 2015.

The issue of changing family dynamics extends to children too, with unmarried parents also not treated in the same manner as married parents, Farewill said. Half of all children born in 2017 were born to parents who were married or in civil partnership (51.9%), however, 67.3% of births outside of marriage or civil partnership were to parents who lived together.

Dan Garrett, CEO, Farewill, commented: “We need to recognise the changing faces of modern British families and how this impacts the estate planning process. Unfortunately, the legal rights for co-habiting couples, those in civil partnerships and unmarried parents of children are not the same as it is for married couples, despite many believing that they are the same. There needs to be greater education around how this can affect and potentially break family relationships after a death in the family.”

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