The SNP Government has launched a public consultation on how the law covering inheritance rules in Scotland could be brought up to date and be made fairer.
The consultation asks how an estate should be split when there are both a surviving spouse and children. It also considers what rights cohabitants should have regarding succession, and whether step-children should have the same inheritance rights as biological or adopted children.
The consultation furthermore seeks views on a potential change in the law to allow anyone charged and convicted of murder and other crimes to be removed from being executors for their victims’ wills. Community Safety Minister Ash Denham MSP said:
“The make-up of families in Scotland is vastly different today than when inheritance laws were enacted over half a century ago.
“We want our reforms to reflect 21st century Scotland. The law should be fair and representative so it is important we hear from people of all ages and backgrounds. I urge people to take this opportunity to share their opinions and experiences.”
Convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Trusts and Succession Law Sub-Committee Gordon Wyllie added:
“We welcome the opportunity for consultation and reform of succession law. The law must reflect modern society, and we strongly encourage reform in areas where the law has struggled to keep up with societal and technological changes.
“We believe that changes to inheritance rules are required and look forward to engaging with the government on this issue.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Inheritance law is something that touches our lives when we are most vulnerable, so it is important to get it right.
“The 2011 Census showed that 16% of families in Scotland were cohabitating couples. It is important that, if they do not leave a will, the law of intestacy delivers fair outcomes. The Census also showed that 8% of married couple families and 29% of cohabiting couple families to be step-families.
“It is clearly time to bring inheritance law up to speed with the needs of modern families in North Ayrshire and across Scotland.
“I therefore encourage constituents to participate in the Consultation on the Law of Succession 2019 by 10 May 2019.”