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Private Client

As published within the STEP Journal 

Magnus Mackay and Jaclyn Russell survey the landscape of succession law and cohabitant’s rights in Scotland and discuss the potential for reform

The succession rights of married and unmarried couples were brought into sharp focus last year when the Court of Appeal in England and Wales handed down its judgement in the case of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Others v Jacqueline Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 1916. With the Scottish Government considering significant reform of succession law, the present arrangements, proposals for change and the potential impact of the case are of significant interest to Scottish practitioners.

We tend to accept that sales people can occasionally use jargon to promote their product or service, and estate agents may do just that to make their properties attractive to prospective buyers. While there are rules in place to prevent misleading customers, and many descriptions are genuine, it’s important for buyers to exercise a degree of caution to ensure the description used isn’t open to interpretation..

According to the latest report on wealth in Scotland, today’s young people are more reliant on inheritances, rather than earnings, to determine their living standards and wealth. This may prompt parents and grandparents to consider making a financial gift during their lifetime, rather than after.

Latest reports suggest that the city’s economy is gradually rebounding from the effects of the recent downturn in the oil and gas industry. This is evidenced in a study by The UK Power House which places Aberdeen as the best performing city economy in Scotland, with the fifth best rate of growth in the UK. At the beginning of the year Aberdeen was also voted as the best location to launch a start-up business in the whole of UK.

As the city’s business owners continue to work hard to build high value businesses and adapt and diversify to place them in a stronger position post downturn, it makes sense to plan for business succession for future generations.

Recent publicity about an English Court of Appeal ruling on the rights of unmarried couples has highlighted the misunderstanding that many people have about their rights following their partner’s death.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 introduces a new type of tenancy in Scotland, under which it is possible for a tenant’s partner or other family members to inherit their tenancy following their death.  This Insight highlights the requirements which must be met in order to take advantage of the new provisions.

On 2 November the Scottish Government published its Consultation document “The Role Of Income Tax In Scotland’s Budget”.  Of particular interest to Scottish taxpayers are four alternative options for the taxation of income devolved to Scotland (being non-savings and non-dividend income), one of which will likely be adopted in future.

Many people are reluctant to put in place a Will.  Some feel they are too young and do not wish to consider making a Will until later in life or they become seriously ill.  Others feel they have insufficient assets or are comfortable that their family will follow their instructions.   Regardless of your age or how modest or straightforward you think your estate is, we recommend all our clients put Wills in place.

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