Should Sisters Living Together Get the Same Rights as Married Couples?

Should These 80-Year-Old Sisters Be Treated Like They're Married?


Joyce and Sybil Burden are sisters in their eighties who have shared a home since birth, and just lost their appeal to the British courts to get the same inheritance tax rights as married couples or those in civil partnerships. They jointly own a £875,000 estate and have stated in their wills that the surviving sister should receive the deceased sister's share. Under the current inheritance tax law, the surviving sister would pay about 40 percent (about £50,200) on that share, while spouses and civil partners wouldn't have to pay an estate tax.

The judges that ruled against the sisters said living together couldn't be compared with marriage or a civil partnership and said,"Rather than the length or the supportive nature of the relationship, what was determinative was the existence of a public undertaking, carrying with it a body of rights and obligations of a contractual nature." The sisters feel "personally persecuted" by the judgment and are "bitterly disappointed" with the outcome. What's your opinion?

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