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Same sex marriage reaches New York - five years after UK

Same sex ‘marriages’ have now become legal in New York - more than five years after civil partnerships became legal in the UK.

Only a small number of gay couples in New York have so far taken advantage of their new rights but in the UK, civil partnerships are now well established.

Since December 2005, nearly 50,000 same sex couples have used them to put their relationships on a firm legal footing.

Just over 6,000 civil partnerships were registered in the UK last year, a slight increase on 2009.

Couples entering into civil partnerships face the same legal issues as heterosexual married couples and they may need to make new arrangements to reflect their new status.

For example, their existing wills become null and void and so they need to make new wills as soon as possible. There are also implications for such things as inheritance tax and capital gains tax.

Failure to get these matters in order could lead to thousands of pounds being wasted.

Incidentally, couples who aren’t gay might also benefit from re-assessing their legal arrangements. Heterosexual couples also need to make new wills when they marry and may also benefit from reviewing their arrangements relating to inheritance and capital gains tax.

The problem is even more complicated for couples who co-habit without marrying. Women in particular are vulnerable if the relationship breaks down and should seriously consider making living together agreements to provide protection for the future.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article.

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