The laws of intestacy that apply in Scotland are not the same as those in England and Wales. However, following recent changes to the laws in England and Wales relating to the entitlement of relatives in intestacy, the Scottish Government decided to amend the law there also. The changes came into effect throughout Scotland on 1 February 2012.
The main change is that the spouse or civil partner of someone who dies intestate will now receive the couple’s home by ‘prior right’ where the home is worth up to a maximum of £473,000. If it is worth more than £473,000, that value is received instead. The previous limit was £300,000.
A further change will allow small estates of £36,000 or less to be dealt with by a simplified method.
HM Revenue and Customs has guidance on the current position on prior rights on intestacy in Scotland.