Its never too late to tie the knot, Vivian Boyack and Alice “Nonie” Dubes  were married Sept. 6 after 72 years together.

Government announces there will be no change in the law relating to Civil Partnership.  Rules permitting conversion to marriage will not be in force before December 2014

Why UKIPS views on older people and homophobia are wrong

The pension problem for same sex couples


“Staying out of the Closet” – A quick guide to legal rights for members of the LGBT community

 The prospect of going into care is a terrifying one for some gay men and women, because they know friends so badly treated by residents and staff that they have gone back into the closet”. Channel 4 News 17th June 2014
 We offer an hour of  FREE  legal advice to anyone wanting to discuss the issues set out below.

 No-one should feel afraid to disclose their sexuality. Gay men over the age of 63, however, grew up in an era where homosexual relations were illegal until the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.  All members of the LGBT community could be discriminated against in the supply of goods and services until the passing of the Sexual Orientation regulations in 2007 and true parity was only achieved with the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013.  Many elderly members of the LGBT community have lived with a lifetime of prejudice, discrimination and vilification.

‘Heterosexism’, directly and indirectly, is sadly, still a feature of some parts of society but at least members of the LGBT community now benefit from stronger legal protection – and this is particularly important as we get older.iStock_000031840326Medium coloured women with bike

We all want to live somewhere where we can be ourselves and don’t feel the need to hide our sexuality.  A place where we can feel accepted for who we are and not resented for who we are not.  For those who prefer not to discuss their sexuality, haven’t acclimatised to Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Marriage or face prejudice and discrimination because of their sexual orientation, the law can be a great help.  Here are some examples:

Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs and for Health and Welfare

It is possible to make Powers of Attorney to cover both the management of your finances and, perhaps even more importantly, of your health and welfare.  These are separate Powers of Attorney and enable you ‘the Donor’ to appoint whomever you choose to make decisions about your affairs in one of these areas or both.

Why is this important?

The appointed Attorney has legal recognition and can make decisions relating to your finances and your health and welfare.  This can be particularly important when it comes to speaking to a life partner’s GP about care, especially towards the end of life.  Individuals appointed as Attorney are not required to reveal their relationship with the Donor if they prefer not to and can carry out all their dealings with medical and social services in their capacity of Attorney if that is preferred.

Making a will

In the absence of a will, property passes either to a spouse (same sex or otherwise) or registered civil partner or to close biological relatives – so anyone dying without a spouse, civil partner or children will leave their estate to pass to relatives rather than a life partner.  Making a will enables you to choose who will inherit your estate and, as part of making a will, you will appoint Executors whom, in addition to administering the estate, are responsible for organising your funeral.

Why is this important?

There is little law regarding the right to bury a deceased person and, in the absence of a will, biological relatives may be able to establish a stronger claim to the body than a life partner.  By making a will, you can choose to whom you leave your estate and who you would like to organise your funeral.

Inheritance (Provision for family and dependants) Act  1975

Where there is no will and, provided the person who has died was domiciled in England and Wales, a claim can be made for financial provision from their estate. The claim can be made by anyone who has lived in the same household as the deceased for at least two years as their ‘husband or wife’ (this term would normally include a life partner), ending immediately before their death.

Why is this important?

In a situation where someone has died leaving no will and biological relatives will inherit the estate, this Act enables a life partner to make a claim against the estate. This can be particularly relevant if the property in which the partners lived was registered in the sole name of the deceased.   Even where a will has been made which makes no provision or inadequate provision for a life partner, a claim can still be made.

Constructive trusts

A property may be registered in the name of one partner only but both may have carried out maintenance and paid the mortgage so the house may be treated as belonging to both of them.  In such circumstances, the surviving life partner can look to make a claim for part or all of the house, notwithstanding what any will or intestacy may provide for.

Why is this important

The law of trusts is based on fairness.  Where parties have treated a property as a joint asset the law will often recognise this.

S.1 The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Apart from the presumption of mental capacity, any decision made on behalf of an individual lacking mental capacity must always be made in their best interests.

Why is this important?

Any doctor, nurse or social worker must comply with this Act and not involving a life partner in the decision-making process when their life partner has dementia or other mental incapacity will, in all likelihood, breach it.

The Equality Act 2010

It is unlawful to discriminate either directly or indirectly against anyone on, amongst other things, their age, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.  The effect of this legislation is wide ranging.

Why is this important?

Whether we are heterosexual or LGBT we are all entitled to the same treatment, good and services.

Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

These place people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in the same legal and tax position as heterosexual couples who have married.

Why is this important?

It brings with it all the benefits and burdens of ‘getting hitched’.  The Inheritance tax situation is beneficial for those who are married or in a civil partnership.

In summary, the legal position for people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender has changed dramatically in recent years with legal rights now the same for all regardless of their sexual orientation.  A huge volume of case law which already applies to unmarried heterosexual couples now applies equally to non-heterosexual couples.

If you would like further information on your rights and liabilities, please get in touch.