News & EventsWho? What? Where? Why? Read all about it here!

Get the Latest

Latest

Don’t Leave Legacy To Chance

A landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal in London shows how important estate planning is - and highlights potential limitations on how your assets can be distributed, as partner Tessa Till discusses.

A ruling at the Court of Appeal in London which threw the spotlight on disinheritance prompts a timely reminder to ensure that the provisions set out in your Will are crystal clear, and any limitations on leaving assets fully understood.

This is particularly important ahead of the proposed changes to the law of Succession in Scotland.

Although Scots Law differs on a number of points, the landmark English case - in which a mother’s stipulation that she left nothing to her daughter was overruled - has highlighted how crucial it is that the legal ramifications are understood and wishes are clarified. It will also have implications for how people need to draw up their Wills.

The case centred on a woman who left her £500,000 estate to animal charities and stated that she did not want her estranged daughter to receive anything. The daughter was eventually granted a third of the money, £164,000, on the grounds that her mother did not leave “reasonable provision” in her will to ensure her future maintenance.  Charities are concerned that the decision might affect the number and value of legacies bequeathed to them in the future.

In Scotland the principle of Legal Rights – the idea that every child and spouse has a claim on the deceased’s estate, despite the terms of any will – has been enshrined in Scots Law for years. Claims can only be made against the deceased’s movable property – generally everything excluding ‘bricks and mortar’ – and do not currently extend to heritable property such as buildings and land.

However the Scottish Law Commission has suggested that there is no justification for continuing to make such a distinction and proposes its removal. The Commission suggests that Legal Rights would apply to both the deceased’s heritable and moveable estate but it’s proposed that, instead of the current rule that allows all children to make a claim, claimants might be restricted to dependent children deemed to require maintenance – a scenario similar to the English case although likely to amount to a much smaller percentage of the estate.

The issues have now been put out for consultation by the Scottish Government. The proposal is intended to help promote fairness and prevent disinheritance, however, in certain instances, it might mean that farms and country estates would have to be broken up or sold in order to settle the claims.

Whilst changes will not happen overnight, they may significantly affect planning for the future, so it's important to speak to an advisor early to find out how these proposals might impact you and if necessary adapt your plans for succession.

To find out more about Wills or succession planning, email Tessa or call 0131 624 6814.

GET IN TOUCH


Not sure where to start? Why not just give us a call today on
0131 624 6820 for Edinburgh or 01334 475001 for Fife to discuss your needs.

All fields marked with * are needed

GET IN TOUCH

Want to work with a local, friendly company? Then find your nearest Pagan Osborne office to you below. However, we also work with clients throughout the UK so you can call any of our numbers and our helpful reception staff will be happy to forward on your call to the most appropriate expert to suit your needs.

Edinburgh
Clarendon House
116 George Street
Edinburgh
EH2 4LH Call Us
Tel: 0131 624 6820
Fax: 0131 220 1612
2 Comiston Road
Morningside
Edinburgh
EH10 5QE Call Us
Tel: 0131 539 3333
Fax: 0131 538 7204
St Andrews
106 South Street
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9QD Call Us
Tel: 01334 475001
Fax: 01334 476322
Cupar
12 St Catherine Street
Cupar
Fife
KY15 4HH Call Us
Tel: 01334 653777
Fax: 01334 655063
1 Crossgate
Cupar
Fife
KY15 5HA Call Us
Tel: 01334 656525
Fax: 01334 654119
Anstruther
Pagan Osborne
5a Shore Street
Anstruther
Fife
KY10 3EA Call Us
Tel: 01333 310703
Fax: 01333 311918

CALL BACK SERVICE

Got a question? Fill in your details below and we'll give you
a call back on the date and time you have chosen.