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Distribution Of Assets On Death – What Are Your Legal Rights?

Under Scots law, there is legislation in place that can potentially have an impact on how you distribute your assets on death.

Prior rights apply to the deceased’s estate when they die intestate (no will) and provide an amount for a surviving spouse/civil partner.

Legal rights apply to those who die testate (with a will) and provides how the first proportion of their moveable estate (every asset other than heritable property (land and buildings)) could be split up on death.

Legal rights need to be claimed by the deceased survivors, and any current rights under the will must be given up in order to make the claim.

Shown below are the details of who can claim what;

Surviving familyRight of surviving spouse or civil partnerRight of childrenDeceased's part
Spouse or civil partner and childrenOne-thirdOne-thirdOne-third
Spouse or civil partner but no childrenOne-halfN/AOne-half
Children but no spouse or civil partnerN/AOne-halfOne-half
Neither spouse, civil partner or childrenN/AN/AWhole moveable estate

Knowing your legal rights can better prepare your family succession plans, for example, we recently supported a farming client who was a widower, and on death wanted his farming daughter to inherit his farming enterprise, but was concerned that his estranged son would be able to make a claim on the assets. Read the case study to see how our Private Client team helped our client here.

If you would like more information on the distribution of your assets on death or if you would like to discuss any succession planning issues, please contact the Private Client Taxperts.

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