Prior Rights of a Spouse or Civil Partner to Share in the Deceased’s Estate

In Scotland if a person dies without leaving a Will and they are survived by a husband, wife or civil partner that surviving relative is entitled to claim Prior Rights.

What is included in Prior Rights? 

There are three separate elements to Prior Rights.

Firstly, they can claim the house if this, or a share of it, belonged to the deceased  – as long as it was used by the surviving husband, wife or civil partner as their main residence.  The value that can be claimed is up to a maximum of £473,000.

Note that if the value of the house is less than that, they are not entitled to make it up to the maximum value out of cash assets.  On the other hand, if the value of the house exceeds £473,000 then they are entitled to receive the cash amount instead of the house itself.

Secondly, the surviving husband, wife or civil partner is entitled to claim the furniture and furnishings within the deceased’s house – again, provided the surviving husband, wife or civil partner was using that house as their main residence – up to a value of £24,000.

The third and final aspect of the Prior Rights claim is a cash amount up to a value of £89,000 if the deceased did not have any children or £50,000 if the deceased did have children.

Possible Additional Claim for Legal Rights

If the total assets of the deceased have not been covered in the Prior Rights claim, the surviving husband, wife or civil partner would also be entitled to claim Legal Rights (see Legal Rights) and the amount that they could claim depends on the balance available and whether or not the deceased had children.

Contact us for further help

If you have a query about a situation where Prior Rights could apply, get in touch with us.

All initial enquiries are free of charge and without obligation.

Call us on 01343 544077 (Elgin) or 01309 672126 (Forres) or complete and submit an online enquiry form by clicking HERE.  You can also use the online form simply to request a call-back from us by phone.