For immediate use; Wednesday 15th April 2009
CHANGES WELCOME BUT COULD GO FURTHER
Highlands and Islands MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed the core proposals of the Scots Law Commission to end the different treatment of moveable and heritable property in the law of succession.
Mr Gibson consulted on a Member's Bill in 2006 to address problems with the law of succession during which time the SLC made proposals to modernise succession law.
Mr Gibson's main goals in amending the existing law were to remove any distinctions between heritable and moveable property, and to equalise the rights of inheritance so that the spouse, civil partners, co-habitees and heirs can succeed to heritable property in the same manner as to moveable property.
Commenting on the SLC report on Succession published today Rob said,
"I am pleased that the SLC has decided to make the rules in its proposals as simple as possible.
"I welcome the right of spouses, civil partners, co-habitees and children to share in the estate of the deceased both in the moveable [house and goods] and heritable [land] property.
"This recognises that the heritable property may be by far the most valuable asset in the estate. In particular the rights of spouses and children are rebalanced so that modern circumstances of more complex family relationships and longer lives are accounted for.
"I recognise the concerns of farmers that their business can be carried on without being divided up. I am confident the SLC has addressed this point of view with clarity.
"However, I am still concerned that the ultimate distinction in law between heritable and moveable property has not been addressed. Nevertheless the rights outlined in the SLC report go a long way to providing the chance for the Parliament to pass modern succession law."
1. The Consultation launched by Rob Gibson on a members bill in 2006 is attached; http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/bills/pdfs/mb-consultations/LegalRightsOnSuccession.pdf