Changing Gender: Your Will, Powers of Attorney and Pensions
You may have transitioned socially, for example, by telling your friends and family of your new gender identity or by changing how you present yourself. You may have changed your gender, title and name on documents such as credit cards, bank statements, utility bills, employment and medical records, and on certain government issued documents such as your passport and driving licence. All of this you can do yourself.
However, you cannot change your birth certificate without having obtained a gender recognition certificate (GRC). An GRC is an official document which means that you have your new gender legally recognised for all purposes. Without a GRC things like your National Insurance number is connected to your previous gender and you will be on the electoral role in your previous gender. A GRC would enable you to get a new birth certificate in your new gender meaning that all your documentation matches – so your official documentation aligns with your gender.
Making a Will
It is important that you make a Will to ensure that your assets go to those you want to benefit. You should ensure that you are referred to in your Will in the way that you want to be known. You may have chosen a new name and want to be known only by your new name in your Will or you may be happy for both your previous name and your new name to be used.
You should keep a list of your assets with your Will to help your executors when they administer your estate. This could be especially important if you have assets in both names.
You may be a beneficiary under someone else’s Will, such as your parents. That Will may refer to you by your previous name. Unless you have a GRC to show the link, you should keep documents relating to your previous identity, to be able to show that you are the person named in the Will and therefore entitled to benefit.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs):
· Health and Welfare
· Property and Financial Affairs
A LPA is a document that lets you appoint one or more people (your attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
You can put in place the Health and Welfare LPA to give your attorneys the power to make decisions about your daily care, medical treatment and life-sustaining decisions if you lose mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
You can set out in the document your wishes, for example, the type of clothing that you would like to wear, whether you would want to take any medication associated with your change of gender, and whether you would want to be cared for in the privacy of your own home.
You can also make the Property and Financial Affairs LPA to give your attorneys the power to manage your bank accounts, pay bills, collect benefits or pensions and sell your home, if you become physically or mentally incapable.
You should ensure that your LPAs include all the names you are known by, otherwise there may be confusion or delays when your attorneys need to use them.
Pensions and Benefits
If you get a GRC it can affect the National Insurance contributions, tax liability, benefits and pensions that you or your spouse or civil partner receive.
If you are changing gender you should take advice on the above. Whilst they are not always matters which would immediately spring to mind as being important, they are and by addressing them it may also give you peace of mind.
For more information, do contact Alison Craggs at email@example.com