Dying without a Will means that you die intestate and in Scotland, as with the rest of the UK, there are intestate laws governing the distribution of your estate if this happens.
Scottish intestate law in a nut shell:
Before any claims are made on the estate a surviving spouse has prior rights to that to that estate. If the surviving spouse lived in a property owned by the deceased then he or she is entitled to £300,000 or the entire property if it is valued at below this sum. The surviving spouse is also entitled to up to £24,000 worth of the furnishings in that property. If there are children then the surviving spouse is entitled to £42,000 of any money left in the estate, if there are no children they are entitled to £75,000.
Legal rights come into effect after that of prior rights i.e. the legal rights apply to any of the estate left after the application of prior rights. The legal rights refer to the moveable estate which is in short anything ‘movable’ like money, furniture or jewellery. Legal rights don’t apply to the inheritable estate, which refers to land and buildings. The legal rights are as follows:
- A surviving spouse is entitled to half the movable estate if there are no surviving children and one third of the movable estate if there are surviving children.
- Surviving children are entitled to half the movable estate if there is no surviving spouse and one third if there is a surviving spouse.
The Remaining Estate
Any of the estate left over after the application of legal and prior rights is called the remainder of the estate. The distribution of the remainder of the estate is subject to priority. Children are first in line, if there are no children then parents and siblings inherit, if there are no parents or siblings then the spouse takes the remainder. The list is extensive and goes as far as the siblings of grandparents. If not even the siblings of grandparents can be found then the crown inherits the estate.