The Civil Partnerships (Jersey) Law 2012 (the "Law") that came in to force on 2 April gives civil partnerships between same-sex couples legal recognition. The Law also confers certain property rights to couples who undertake a civil partnership, much the same as were already afforded to heterosexual couples.
Some of the property rights which are likely to be of day-to-day relevance to civil partners are set out below:
Stamp Duty Relief
If one civil partner transfers title to the home that they share to the other, they will be entitled to stamp duty relief, whether the transfer is of the freehold of the property or by way of share transfer.
Right of Dower
'Dower' is the right of enjoyment of a one-third interest in the immoveable estate of a deceased person. If one civil partner dies having made a will, the surviving civil partner is now entitled under the Law to claim a right of dower.
If a civil partner dies without having made a will then, in most circumstances, the surviving civil partner is entitled to a life interest in the civil partnership home, this being the dwelling place in Jersey occupied by the couple as their principal residence.
With the Law treating civil partners much the same as heterosexual married couples, in certain circumstances, if the civil partners are buying property together, particularly when they are taking a mortgage to do so, each partner may be required to take independent legal advice to ensure that they separately understand the consequences of their entering into the property transaction.
If one civil partner is declared bankrupt and the home of the civil partners is vested in the Viscount, the other civil partner may either make an application for an order for the home to pass to him or her or make a claim to the proceeds of any sale of the home or a life interest in the home.
This is a very brief summary of some of the property issues arising out of the new Law.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.