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Inheritance law changes

30 Sep 2016

On 1 November 2016 changes are being made to inheritance law to make it fairer and clearer. This is because of the Succession (Scotland) Act 2016. Succession law is also known as inheritance law.

For example, the law about wills and divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership is changing. At the moment if you have left property in your will to your spouse or civil partner and then got divorced or dissolved your civil partnership, your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner will still inherit the property on your death if you have not changed your will. This is because divorce or dissolution or a civil partnership does not have any effect on provisions in a will. If you die on or after 1 November 2016 divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership will have an effect on provisions in a will. So if you have left property to your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner, this will no longer be valid. 

On or after 1 November 2016 if you do want to leave property to an ex-spouse or ex-civil partner you will need to specifically say so in your will and you may need to alter any existing will if you have not already done so since getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership. 

The Act also makes some other changes to succession law. The Scottish Government have prepared a guide to the changes called ‘Succession Changes - What they mean for you’. This can be found on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot.

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