Succession laws in Scotland 'to reflect modern developments'

Scottish succession law may be overhauled to better suit recent societal developments such as climbing rates of divorce, the rise in families with step children and civil partnerships, it has been revealed.

The Scottish Law Commission published its paper on reform earlier this month. It focused on the protection of close relatives from disinheritance and the legal position of surviving spouses, civil partners and cohabitants in the case of someone dying without having made a will.

There has not been a major revision of Scots law in this area since the Succession Act in 1964 apart from the Scottish Family Law Act in 2006 that allows cohabitants to apply for a discretionary award should a cohabitant die without making a will.

Estate planning specialist at Standard Life Julie Hutchinson told the Scotsman: "Given the change in the law in 2006, it is an opportune moment to review this whole area of succession rights and consider the most prudent way forward".

Ms Hutchinson also noted that Scots law in this area is particularly complex.

Civil partnerships have been legal in Scotland since December 2005.