Intestate Succession in Scotland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Three things stand out in the development of intestate succession law in Scotland. First, the endurance into the modern period of rules which were formed in the Middle Ages and which, in the case of immovable (‘heritable’) property at least, were primarily feudal in nature. Secondly, the lack of interest by governments. Until the Mackintosh Committee in the early 1950s, no governmental body had attempted a systematic review of intestate succession law. And until the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 which implemented the Mackintosh recommendations, almost no legislation had been passed on the subject which was not the work of a private Member of Parliament. Finally, the law has overall been rather clear-sighted in its aims and justifications. Until 1964, the idea was to pass property down the blood line and to preserve large estates; since then, while inter-generational transfer remains important, the dominant concern has been to make provision for the surviving spouse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntestate Succession
EditorsKenneth G. C. Reid, Marius J. de Waal, Reinhard Zimmermann
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198747123
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameComparative Succession Law
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Scottish law
  • intestate succession
  • succession law
  • free estate
  • heirs
  • intestacy rules
  • non-spousal partners
  • children

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