Dying intestate in Scotland


As with English law, if the deceased did not make out a Will prior to their passing, then it is up to the legal system to allocate someone to deal with any outstanding debts and assets, to ensure that they are paid and distributed according to Scottish probate law.

Firstly, the Sheriff Court will nominate an individual, who will then act as the deceased’s representative for the purposes of probate.  This person is most likely to be the surviving spouse/partner or next of kin.

The first task of the representative – known in Scotland as the executor-dative, must be to apply for a bond of caution from an insurance company, which will then be sent to the Sheriff Court.  This bond simply states that the executor-dative is bound to distribute the deceased’s estate, according to Scottish law.

Beneficiares Rights

Prior rights are given to any surviving spouse or partner and apply to any property worth up to £325,000, assets valued up to £24,000 and cash up to £75,000.

After this has been distributed, a third of any further remaining assets, known as “legal rights”, can also be claimed by the surviving spouse/civil partner, with the other two thirds given to any surviving children.  If there are no children, the spouse/civil partner can claim up to half of the assets.

Finally, any assets remaining after all bills and taxes have been paid, are shared out among the deceased’s next of kin.

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