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What Happens if You are Left out of a Will in Scotland?

  • The Law Society of Scotland

People disinherit family and loved ones for many different reasons. Thankfully, the law in Scotland allows for some changes to be made to Wills where close family members are left out. Certain close family members (the children and spouse or civil partner of the deceased) have a legal right to a portion of the “moveable estate” – which is any property in the estate apart from land or buildings. 

Disinherited Spouse & Civil Partners

The legal right in Scotland of spouses and civil partners to one-third of all moveable property means it is not possible to be fully disinherited by your spouse or civil partner. A Will can, therefore, be contested for those seeking legal rights.

It is a common misconception that unmarried partners have an entitlement to a deceased's estate. Unmarried partners have no claim for legal rights – even where they have children together with the deceased.

Disinherited Children

Disinherited children have a claim to a portion of their parent's estate – the entitlement is dependent on how many siblings there are. Each child is entitled to an equal share of one-third of the moveable property of the estate. This is the case whether the child is legitimate, illegitimate or formally adopted. Formally adopted children do not have any right to their natural parent’s estates.

Overseas Property & Assets

In situations where a Will is being challenged, overseas properties will be dealt with according to the law of the country the property is located. The deceased may well have a separate Will in the country or countries in question, and this can, if necessary, be contested according to the country’s inheritance law. Speak to our solicitors if you have a query about overseas property and your inheritance, or the validity of a foreign Will. We are highly experienced in dealing with international inheritance and taxation issues and will ensure you are guided fully every step of the way.

Businesses & Legal Rights Claims

Where a Will or a claim for legal rights will affect the inheritance of a business, speak to our solicitors to see how we can help. Often contesting a Will can help to rescue a family business in danger of falling apart as a result of a legal rights claim.

Rectifying a Will

New laws in Scotland give the court power to rectify a Will, where the Will has been prepared by a person other than the deceased. When applying for rectification, it is necessary to show that the terms of the Will do not reflect the intentions of the deceased. There is a six-month time limit for rectification, from the date of confirmation, or the date of death where confirmation does not apply. Our solicitors can assist in gathering evidence to support your case and can offer expert guidance and representation on applying for rectification.

Contesting a Will in Scotland

If you wish to contest a Will, you can make a start by speaking to an expert Wills and Executry solicitor, who can guide you on the legal aspects surrounding the Will, and who will advise you fully on your legal rights.

Disinherited Spouse & Children Legal Advice Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee,Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton Southside Glasgow 

At Claphams, our aim is to resolve your legal problems swiftly and with ease; informing our clients every step of the way so that you can be assured you are in the best hands. Contact us for advice on any Wills or Executry issue you may have. We are a small, compassionate team, which provides Executry services for families in Glasgow, Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee and throughout Scotland. A personal approach is important to us, so we are happy to visit you at home if it is difficult for you to come to us. Contact us today via our online contact form or give us a call on 0141 620 0800.


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Please note we are a firm of Scottish Solicitors helping clients across Scotland and cannot help you if you are based in England.