Scullion News & Resources

Legal Rights are a claim on someone’s estate when they die and are applicable only to spouses and children. Family fallouts are nothing new. However, when a child is cut out of a Will, this can lead to untold family frustration. This can be seen when parents decide they wish to disinherit their children and cut them out of their Will.

Thankfully, the rules north and south of the border vary quite dramatically in relation to the disinheritance of children. For instance, in Scotland, it is not possible to disinherit your children.  Whether or not you have chosen to make a Will, children and spouses have what are known as Legal Rights to your estate. Legal Rights are an automatic entitlement that is enjoyed by the surviving spouse and any children. The term “children” in this regard normally includes any adopted and illegitimate children. This usually comes as a surprise to those making a Will.

Contrary to popular belief, if you die without a Will in Scotland, your whole estate does not automatically pass to your spouse. Your surviving spouse has certain Prior Rights to the house, its furnishings, and cash, each up to a defined value that changes every few years.

Your spouse and children have automatic Legal Rights to either a third or a half of your net moveable property, depending on whether or not the spouse, or children, or both spouse and children, survive. If there is a surviving spouse, then the children are entitled to one-third amongst them and vice versa. If there is no surviving spouse, the children are entitled to one-half amongst them and vice versa. If there is no Will in place, the remaining estate is divided in a particular order, with children inheriting before parents and siblings, and all of them will inherit before your spouse.

Although Legal Rights exist whether or not someone has made a Will, the importance of making a Will cannot be underestimated. Having a Will in place ensures that your affairs are in order for those left behind and provides your family with much-needed comfort and peace of mind. Without a Will, the law will decide for you who should inherit your estate.

If you wish to discuss your family circumstances and the importance of having a Will in place, then please do not hesitate to contact us; we would be delighted to assist.

Our friendly and approachable law team are ready to support you

Speak to us today