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Fergusson Law shares their latest news, the latest legal news and provides some legal advice on this blog.

Intestacy and Property Investors

Are you a Buy-to-Let Investor?  Do you have a Will?  If you die without one, your property may not be distributed in the way you would have wanted, and it might cause real problems for your family. 

If you do not have a Will in Scotland, your estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy.

Firstly, if there is a surviving spouse they get two items

  • The family home up to a value of £473,000 and contents up to £29,000
  • Cash - £50,000 if there are surviving children, £89,000 if there are none

If the house is worth more, your widow or widower would have to buy the balance from the estate.

If there are moveable assets ( that is everything except houses, flats and land) left after the first two items then further  Rules  apply

These rules below only apply to moveable assets – cash, investments, cars, belongings etc. 

  • Surviving spouse and children – spouse gets 1/3rd, children share 1/3rd net moveable assets
  • Surviving spouse only – spouse gets one half net moveable assets
  • Surviving children only – children share half net moveable assets

Everything left over falls into what is called FREE ESTATE

So anything else you own (including your buy-to-let Properties), remaining cash, investments etc. are distributed under the following strict order of succession.  Only if there is nobody in the higher category can the next down category inherit:-

  • Children take everything, if you have any
  • Your parents share one half and siblings the other half, if you have both
  • Your parents take everything if you have no siblings
  • Your siblings take everything, if you have no parents
  • If a sibling has died leaving children, those children (i.e. your nieces and nephews) are entitled to their share
  • Your spouse – but only if none of the above survive you.

The important point is that your surviving spouse is well down the list.

If you are a buy-to-let investor with no Will your properties are likely to end up in your free estate.  If you have children, they will inherit them in preference to your surviving spouse, even if they are very young at the time. If you have no children, your nieces and nephews may turn out to have a bigger inheritance from you than your surviving spouse.

This distribution can have a number of unwanted consequences including an unnecessary inheritance tax bill, family upset,  and difficulties managing the properties if there are children under 16. 

The practical solution is to draw up a Will.

For advice and a quote contact us at Fergusson Law on 0131 556 4044 (any extension)

or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney
The Consequences of Ineffective Wills

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