Brotherly (and sisterly) love


25 October 2018

By Julie Flight

Following a Supreme Court ruling and thousands of petitioners, it was announced a few weeks ago that the law will be changed to allow civil partnerships for mixed sex couples. Since this announcement by Theresa May there have been calls for the proposals to be reviewed further to allow siblings to also enter into a civil partnership. Through their MP, Sir Edward Leigh, two sisters have argued that they too should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership with one another as they have lived together in a purely platonic relationship since 1985 and are concerned that, when one of them dies, their home will need to be sold to pay the inheritance tax due on the estate.  Campaigners have long called for civil partnerships for siblings, which would allow them to enjoy the same inheritance rights as couples who have formalised their relationship through marriage or civil partnership.

Under the proposals to be put forward by Sir Leigh to the House of Lords committee, both siblings would have to be over age 30 and have lived together for at least 12 years continuously.  A change in the law would mean that siblings in civil partnerships would benefit from special treatment for inheritance, pensions and tax purposes in the same way that married couples and civil partnerships currently do.

Whether the rules will be amended to include siblings is very unclear and, if they are, there would be stringent restrictions on who would be able to benefit from them. The benefits would be of significant benefit to siblings so expect the campaign to continue for the foreseeable future.

If you are concerned about inheritance tax or who will benefit from your pension plan after your death, the Private Client team here at Gepp Solicitors would be happy to talk to you. We can give you advice on how to structure your affairs in the most tax efficient manner both now and after death. So, for peace of mind that your loved ones will be looked after when you die, please contact us on 01245 228127 or