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Fair share? Scottish wills

Jacqueline Leslie discusses prior legal rights that automatically entitle families in Scotland to a share of a deceased’s estate

2 November 2012

It often comes as a surprise to those in Scotland wishing to make a will that the law allows certain family members to claim funds from their estate, regardless of the terms of the will.

Legal rights under Scots Law give a surviving spouse or civil partner, the children of the deceased and, in some cases, remoter issue a right to a share of the estate of a deceased person.

Unlike the position in England, legal rights offer family protection where the deceased died domiciled in Scotland without the need to apply to a court. Legal rights arise automatically and may be claimed when the deceased died intestate or testate. The spouse’s right is called jus relicti where a widower claims his legal rights and the widow’s claim is referred to as jus relictae.

The legal rights claim of the children is referred to as leg...

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