The Inheritance Tax legislation does not define ‘spouse’ or ‘civil partner’ so the definitions come from general law. Consequently, the exemption applies to transfers between people who are lawfully married to each other at the time of the transfer (this includes same-sex couples from 13 March 2014 in England and Wales, 16 December 2014 in Scotland and 13 January 2020 in Northern Ireland) and to transfers between people who are civil partners at the time of the transfer.

Spouses include

people who are legally married but separated

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