The latter end of 2016 witnessed changes to the laws of succession in Scotland. The Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 is now the Succession (Scotland) Act 2016, which came into force on the 1st November 2016.
This Act has introduced many significant changes to the laws of Scotland which will impact a deceased’s estate and those looking to claim from it. The main points being:
- If a person dies without leaving a Will the Act abolishes the requirement of a Bond of Caution when the estate is considered as a “Small Estate”, less than £36,000.
- If there is a mistake in the Will, which was not drafted by you, then there is a small window of time in which you can apply to the court and have the mistake rectified. The Act allows you to apply to the Court of Session or the Sheriff Court within six months to have the issue corrected.
- If you draft a new Will to replace one already existing, but then revoke the new Will, your old Will would be revived and dictate the distribution of your estate.
- If you die on or after the 1st November 2016, a former spouse or civil partner will no longer inherit under an existing Will, following a divorce. This also means that any special destinations will be revoked upon divorce. However, if you do wish for the provision to still stand then you must take specific steps to provide for this in your Will.
- It is no longer the case that the younger is presumed to have survived the elder.
- Trustees and executors are to be given some statutory protection if they have incorrectly distributed assets to the wrong beneficiary.
These changes have majorly amended an area of law which has been stagnant for fifty years to reflect the changes within society.