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Legal Rights in Scotland

At The McKinstry Company, we are highly experienced in dealing with succession and estates. Our legal team has a sound and thorough knowledge of executry law and will be able to advise you on how an estate will be divided and distributed upon death.

We understand how difficult it can be dealing with the loss of a loved one.  The burden of administering their estate be overwhelming. We are here to help and offer advice, whether your relative or friend had a Will in place or not.  We can explain to you how the estate will be divided and ensure that this is done correctly, in accordance with the law.

One important issue to consider is the impact of legal rights on an estate.  Below we explain what legal rights are and how and when they apply.  However, if you want any advice at all, please get in touch.  Contact us on 01292 281711 or complete our online contact form.  Our team are always happy to help.

What Are Legal Rights and When Do They Apply?

In Scotland, when someone dies, their children and any surviving spouse or civil partner have rights to their estate, known as legal rights.  This is true regardless of whether a Will exists or not.   Legal rights do not extend to unmarried partners or cohabitants. However, where a cohabitant dies without a Will, the surviving cohabitant can make an application to the court for a share of the deceased partner’s estate.

It is sometimes said that, in Scotland, you cannot disinherit your spouse or your children.  This is because they have legal rights, and can, therefore, make a claim on the estate even if they are not explicitly named in the Will.  However, any person who has rights under a Will, as well as legal rights, has to choose between them; he or she cannot have both.

Legal rights do not apply to houses or other heritable property but only apply to moveable property The date of death value of the moveable estate is reduced by deducting moveable debts, funeral expenses, inheritance tax, the expenses incurred obtaining Confirmation (Probate) and realising the moveable assets.  Moveable property includes money in bank accounts, shares, cars and possessions like jewellery.   If there is a surviving spouse, they will be entitled to one third of the moveable estate if there are children and one half if there are no children.  Children between them will be entitled to a third of the estate if there is a living spouse and one half if there is not.

Contact Our Wills & Estate Planning Lawyers in Ayrshire & Dumfries and Galloway

At The McKinstry Company, we put our clients at the heart of our work.  As a firm  we never lose sight of the importance of the client and the outcome which the client seeks from us.

Our goal is to generate and maintain strong and lasting client relationships rather than a transactional approach to the work which we undertake.  We are a law firm for life and will work with you as your family and finances change, to ensure that you receive the best possible legal advice.

If you want to learn more about the impact of legal rights on an estate, get in touch today.  You can contact us on 01292 281711, or via our online enquiry form.  Our friendly and dedicated team are here to help you.

Thiona McQuiston Partner View Thiona's Profile

Thiona is Head of our Private Client Department where she is involved in all aspects of property, asset protection, Powers of Attorney, Guardianship, Wills and winding up estates.  

Having joined TMC almost three decades ago in a support role, Thiona went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Law from the University of Strathclyde in 1999.  When embarking upon her Law degree, she was told by the late Professor Sinclair “My dear, you have the University of Life” and that as a bedrock equips Thiona to advise clients on the aspects of their affairs in which she is involved.

Thiona enjoys walking, yoga, travel and spending time with her husband and family, including her dog Molly.

Debbie Dunlop Partner View Debbie's Profile

Based in our Girvan office, Debbie is a Partner who is highly experienced in Private Client work, particularly in the agricultural and farming sectors. She used to enjoy travelling the world, but now married to a farmer, she spends her weekends in wellies, feeding cattle or on the back of a quad bike. Debbie is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association.

Having lived in Rome for a number of years, Debbie also studied Law at the Université d’Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand – as a result, she is fluent in both Italian and French. She can also speak a bit of Spanish, thanks to travelling around various Central and South American countries, including walking the Inca trail. She has managed to convince her husband that the cattle in Argentina will be worth a look at some time soon!

A keen runner, Debbie has competed in 10Ks and half marathons, even completing the Rome Marathon. This now comes in handy during lambing time chasing after ewes.

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Queen’s Court House
39 Sandgate
Ayr, Ayrshire
KA7 1BE

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Girvan

146-148 Dalrymple Street
Girvan, Ayrshire
KA26 9BQ

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