But what impact would entering into a Civil Partnership have for Bert and Ernie if they did decide to take that step and then ultimately the relationship broke down?
As a couple who live together they would presently have hardly any of the legal rights that a married couple do. Any issues surrounding the ownership of Sesame Street would depend on property law issues. If both Bert & Ernie are named on the title deeds then they will hold the property as joint tenants or as tenants in common. If owned as joint tenants they will own the property in equal shares. If they own as tenants in common then their entitlement will depend upon whether or not there is a Declaration of Trust confirming how the equity will be divided. If no Declaration then the entitlement will have to be determined on the basis of their financial arrangements.
As cohabitants they will not automatically inherit from one another and will not inherit from one another under rules of intestacy.
In contrast if they entered into a Civil Partnership they would be treated the same as a married couple if the relationship ended. The process of ending the partnership is called dissolution and is the same as divorce. The Civil Partnership Act allows civil partners to make financial claims against one another. If Bert and Ernie’s relationship did breakdown following a civil partnership they would be able to make a claim against each other’s income, capital and estate on death.