Will and succession considerations for same-sex couples

Understanding the Basics:

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets should be distributed following their death. Having a clear and comprehensive will is essential to ensure that your partner is properly taken care of and that your wishes are respected.

In many jurisdictions, if there is no will in place, the law dictates how assets are distributed. In the UK, this falls under the Intestacy Rules. This default arrangement may not align with your intentions, particularly when it comes to non-traditional family structures. Therefore, a will allows you to have control over who inherits your assets, including your partner.

Choosing the Right Executor:

An executor is the person responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in your will. When selecting an executor, consider someone you trust implicitly, as this role involves handling financial matters and ensuring the proper distribution of assets. It is crucial to discuss this decision openly with your partner and ensure they are comfortable with your choice.

Guardianship for Children:

For couples with children, clearly stating your preferences for guardianship in your will is vital. This becomes especially important for same-sex couples, as legal recognition and protection for non-biological parents may vary. Clearly defining your wishes can prevent potential disputes and ensure the well-being of your children.

Protecting Your Partner:

In many countries such as the UK, marriage equality has granted same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, it is essential to stay informed about local laws and regulations, as they can vary. With global mobility on the increase and many people moving abroad for work or other considerations, this may potentially affect one’s place of relocation. If marriage is not an option or does not provide sufficient protection, legal documents such as a will or power of attorney become even more critical.

Regularly Review and Update:

Life is dynamic, and circumstances change. It is advisable to review and update your will periodically, especially after significant life events like marriage, the birth of children, or the acquisition of new assets. Ensuring that your will reflects your current situation will help avoid complications going forward.


In the pursuit of love and happiness, legal matters should not be overlooked. Same-sex couples, like any other, can benefit greatly from thoughtful will and succession planning. By taking the time to understand and navigate these essential legal steps, you not only safeguard your partner’s future but also ensure that your wishes are respected and your legacy is preserved.

Sherrards is part of an international alliance of legal and accountancy firms, Alliott Global Alliance, represented in 96 countries and we can connect you with advisers if you are looking to move abroad.

To find out more, contact Nicole Marmor.