Will your Family be happy with who you leave your estate to? How to avoid a challenge to your will.

Nobody likes thinking about it but a will is important, particularly for unmarried gay couples.  Many gay couples face an antagonistic attitude from within their own families. Sometimes the family of a gay couple may only tolerate their relative’s gay partner during the course of the relationship and once their relative has died the family’s stance may change completely. 

Daniel Theron, a partner, “On discovering that a gay relative has left their estate in its entirety to their gay partner, it is not unheard for a close relative to mount a challenge to the will, regardless of the fact that in the UK you can leave your estate to whoever you choose at your own discretion.” Daniel further pointed out “a legal challenge is costly, time-consuming and stressful to fight and can extend for years before a conclusion is reached. If you take the advice of an experienced inheritance lawyer initially you can have confidence that your partner will not face such difficulties.”

The family dynamic can be further altered by the fact that families are less conformist than in the past; gay people have sometimes been married prior to their current gay relationship and have children from a previous relationship, or have children in their current relationship.  Then there can be step-children, informally adopted children and the complex question of surrogate birth mothers should always be kept in mind, particularly as a surrogate mother is regarded as the legal mother.  If there are children and their status is not on a sound legal basis there could be problems for the remaining partner and the baby. 

There are so many variables to consider to protect your partner and your estate:

  •         Protecting your partner’s position if you are unmarried.
  •         What if you did not divorce your spouse and just moved in with your new partner?
  •         How can you minimise your beneficiary’s tax liability?
  •         What happens if you lose capacity?
  •         What can be done to stop your relatives challenging the will?
  •         How to protect a beneficiary who is under the age of majority.
  •         How to make certain your executors will carry out your express wishes.
  •         How can you protect your children if you only have an informal agreement with the birth mother?
  •         How to ensure that the inheritance goes only to the individuals named and not to the beneficiary’s family upon their death.
  •         If you make a will what happens if a benefactor pre-deceases you?


The lawyers at Gay Lawyers point out that the short answer to all the questions above is to be advised by an expert wills and inheritance lawyer who can guide you as to how to put all the issues that apply to you on a very sound legal footing.  You will need a rock-solid will to make sure no one can dispute your wishes when you are not here to put them right.  Children must be legally yours and crystal clear instructions about guardianship whilst they are under the age of majority. 

Even greater attention must be delivered to the will involving an estate which includes a business, particularly if the business is to continue running.  There may be a commercial premise involved or the inheritance may include assets and plant essential to the running of the business.

The experienced lawyers in Gay Lawyers, Giambrone’s LGBT division, have extensive expertise in protecting the wishes enshrined by an individual in a will, as well as advising on managing the administration and probate.

For further information about protecting your partner and your assets email info@gaylawyers.com  or telephone 020 7043 5928 

Anne Gadd

Contact us