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Disinheritance & Legal Rights



Disinheritance & Legal Rights


Forced heirship is a principle common in many legal systems. In basic terms, forced heirship directs that a portion of a deceased person’s estate is passed to a close relative – typically the deceased’s spouse and/or children.


Scottish law includes a variation of forced heirship, known as legal rights.


As you can imagine, legal rights and forced heirship can be a particularly thorny issue for people who have remarried and have children by a former relationship – as well as those who may have fallen out of contact or favour with their child or children.


Regardless of whether or not the deceased made a Will, in Scotland a portion of the estate can be claimed by a surviving spouse and children.


Practically speaking, it is very difficult to disinherit children under the Scottish system of succession.


The surviving spouse and children in Scotland each have automatic rights to make a claim on their deceased spouse or parent’s estate, and this right extends for twenty years after the death.


If the executor of a deceased person’s estate doesn’t address the issue of legal rights claims on the estate, that executor may be held personally liable for the amount due to the claimant – plus interest.

If the legal rights claim has come many years after the death, the amount of interest alone may be substantial.



Weir Law is a specialist Scottish law firm, providing you with essential personal legal services in a clear and straightforward way.


We help people throughout Scotland make important decisions regarding their future. From our office in Glasgow, we cover the whole of Scotland. And as a modern law firm, we provide you with the advice you need at a time and in a manner that suits you best. So, whether you are at home in Greenock or at work in St Andrews, you can access our legal know-how entirely at your convenience.


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