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Succession in Scotland following the Succession (Scotland) Act 2016

The Succession (Scotland) Act 2016, which came into full effect in November 2016, has introduced a number of important changes to Succession law in Scotland. The Act marks the first major change to this area of law since the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964.

The 2016 Act introduced a number of changes which may be of interest to anyone who currently holds a Will, or anyone who is currently considering having one drafted.

Notable changes the Act has introduced include:

  • Effect of Dissolution or Divorce:  If a person dies leaving a Will in favour of a former spouse or civil partner, the provisions in favour of the said former spouse or civil partner will not be given effect to.  A correctly drafted Will can reconfirm your intentions if you still wish to provide for a former spouse or civil partner.
  • Rectification of Wills: The Act has introduced a new procedure to rectify errors within a deceased’s Will. The procedure can be used if it can be shown that the deceased’s Will does not accurately reflect the deceased’s wishes.
  • Protection for Executors:  The Act provides protection for Executors who fail to distribute the estate to all entitled beneficiaries of the estate. The protection in the Act provides that Executors who have acted in good faith and have made reasonable enquiries before distributing the estate cannot be held personally liable for any claim made by a beneficiary under the estate.

As the Act only came into force fully in November of 2016 many of the practical implications of same are yet to be seen. At this early stage, it would appear that the changes are a welcome update to this area of law.

If you wish to know more about the Succession law changes and how they may affect your current Will or if you are considering making a Will please do not hesitate to contact our private client team.

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