Changes for Scotland's Succession Law in effect today

Changes for Scotland's Succession Law in effect today

Changes for Scotland’s Succession Law in effect today

by | Inheritance

Scotland  has very different succession law to England and Wales but they have recently undergone the process of making the law more relevant for contemporary society.  The Succession (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 17 June 2015.

The Succession (Scotland) Act 2016 received Royal Assent on  3 March 2016.   The remaining changes will come into effect today 1 November 2016 .

One of the most important changes in the law affects those who get divorced, dissolve a civil partnership or have a marriage annulled.  The old law would have left those on bad terms with their ex partners in an unpleasant situation – they would have benefited on your death regardless of your lack of relationship with them.

The new Act reverses this and any bequest or appointment as executor is annulled if you legal split unless you specifically wish to retain them in your legacy planning.  So, if you die on or after 1 November 2016, in Scotland, and your Will includes your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner as a beneficiary the gift is annulled.

 Also, special destinations of property are affected by the legal ending of marriage or civil partnership. A special destination, sometimes known as a survivor-ship destination, is a condition that commonly appears in the title to property held by more than one person, usually spouses or civil partners, which provide that on the death of one person their title automatically passes to the survivor/s.

Now if there is a special destination of property in favour of your spouse or civil partner, this will fail if you get divorced, your civil partnership is dissolved or your marriage is annulled.  Again, if this is not the outcome you want then you need to take the necessary steps to clarify the position in your will.

There are many more changes in the law.  For those Scots who are considering writing or reviewing a will, further information can be found here:  www.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/law/damages/succession/SuccessionChanges

Wills Worldwide can assist you with specialist advice for Scottish expats who want to make a will.

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