Legal rights—Scotland
Produced in partnership with Jacqueline Leslie of Harper Macleod LLP
Legal rights—Scotland

The following Private Client guidance note Produced in partnership with Jacqueline Leslie of Harper Macleod LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Legal rights—Scotland
  • Protection against disinheritance
  • Amount of legal rights
  • Legal rights on intestacy
  • Executor's responsibilities in relation to legal rights in testate cases
  • Effect of claiming legal rights in testate cases
  • Moveable and heritable property
  • The children's claim
  • Young beneficiaries
  • Spouse's claim
  • more

Protection against disinheritance

Where a person dies domiciled in Scotland, legal rights form part of the entitlement of the deceased's spouse and children (or, in some situations, remoter issue) where the deceased died intestate. Legal rights also protect the surviving spouse and the deceased's children where the deceased left a Will. Legal rights arise automatically but, where the deceased left a Will, they must be claimed. If not claimed, legal rights prescribe after 20 years.

Amount of legal rights

Where the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the surviving spouse can claim one-third of the net moveable estate (the jus relicti/jus relictae) and the children can claim a one-third share of the net moveable estate equally between or among them (legitim).

Where the deceased has no surviving spouse, the children can claim one-half of the net moveable estate.

Where a person dies and is survived by a spouse but not children, the surviving spouse's claim amounts to one-half of the net moveable estate.

Legal rights on intestacy

Where the deceased dies intestate, any surviving spouse will be entitled to their prior rights. Thereafter, the surviving spouse and any children (or issue by representation) are entitled to receive their legal rights calculated in accordance with the rules set out below.

The remaining estate is then distributed in accordance with