Q. I have read in the newspaper that siblings could soon enter into civil partnerships. Is this correct?
A. Currently, under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, two people of the same sex may be registered as civil partners. Prior to the implementation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, registration as civil partners was the only option in England and Wales for same sex couples wishing to enjoy many of the same privileges as married couples.
Following the decision of the Supreme Court in October 2018, that restricting civil partnerships to same-sex couples was discriminatory, the debate around the registration of civil partnerships has included calls for civil partnerships to be extended to siblings.
Why would siblings want to enter into civil partnerships? In short, to avoid paying inheritance tax on shared/family property.
Under the current law civil partners and married couples are not required to pay inheritance tax on any property left to them by their civil partner/spouse and this, significant financial benefit, is not enjoyed by cohabiting siblings.
However, despite calls for change from some, it is unlikely that we will see civil partnerships extended to include sibling relationships. Whilst the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill, seeking to extend civil partnerships to same sex couples, received its second reading in the House of Lords and continues to be the subject of debate, the Government have indicated that they have no intention of extending civil partnerships to siblings.
Whilst there is a draft bill before the House of Lords, seeking to extend civil partnerships to siblings, this will be unlikely to see daylight in the near future, if at all.
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