09 February 2015

Conversion of civil partnership to same sex marriage will not revoke a will


Paul Hewitt
Partner | UK

Legacy officers will be aware that marriage/civil partnership revokes a will (unless the will makes clear that it is made in contemplation of that formal relationship). Until a new will is made the newlyweds will be intestate (and any charitable legacies in previous wills have no effect).

In England and Wales the main provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force on 13 March 2014 allowing same sex couples to marry. Since 10 December 2014, civil partners are now able to convert their civil partnership into a marriage under the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014.

One potential legal oddity was the impact on an existing will of a civil partnership converting to marriage. However, regulations also came into force amending s18 Wills Act 1837 to provide that the conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage

  • does not revoke an existing will;
  • does not affect any disposition in an existing will; and
  • allows references to a civil partner to be read as referring to a spouse (subject to a contrary intention in the will).

Click here for the conversion Regulations.

Click here for Wills Act provisions.

Category: Article