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Prior rights increases confirmed

12 December 2011

Spouses and civil partners of those who die without making a will are to have increased preferential succession rights from next February.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that prior rights in intestate succession are to be increased for deaths on or after 1 February 2012, to restore the value in real terms to when the limits were last set in 2005.

The right to inherit the spouse's or civil partner's interest in the family home will apply up to a maximum of £473,000 instead of the current £300,000. This reflects the substantial increase in house prices in the last six years.

In addition the maximum value of furniture and house contents that can be claimed rises from £24,000 to £29,000, and the further financial claim on the estate is raised from £42,000 to £50,000 if the deceased left children, and from £75,000 to £89,000 if there are no children.

At the same time the maximum value of an estate to which an executor can obtain confirmation by the simplified procedure without instructing a solicitor will increase from £30,000 to £36,000.

The changes, which are subject to negative resolution in the Scottish Parliament, are in line with those proposed in a Scottish Government consultation earlier this year.

Announcing the changes, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham said: “These are additional safeguards when an individual has not left a will. It is a reminder to us all just how important a document a will can be."

More radical changes in the law of succession recommended by the Scottish Law Commission are still under consideration by the Government.

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Sunday April 22, 2012, 07:23


Why is a lifetime spouse not entitled to inherit the whole estate.

What's taking the Scottish Government so long to put right an unfair law - give the surviving spouse justice.

Blood siblings should have no rights when there is a surviving spouse.

if it's not breaking the law not to have a will - then why can the law penalize you for not having one. We should have some rights to contest the injustice of it.