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Insights

As published within the STEP Journal 

Magnus Mackay and Jaclyn Russell survey the landscape of succession law and cohabitant’s rights in Scotland and discuss the potential for reform

The succession rights of married and unmarried couples were brought into sharp focus last year when the Court of Appeal in England and Wales handed down its judgement in the case of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Others v Jacqueline Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 1916. With the Scottish Government considering significant reform of succession law, the present arrangements, proposals for change and the potential impact of the case are of significant interest to Scottish practitioners.

We tend to accept that sales people can occasionally use jargon to promote their product or service, and estate agents may do just that to make their properties attractive to prospective buyers. While there are rules in place to prevent misleading customers, and many descriptions are genuine, it’s important for buyers to exercise a degree of caution to ensure the description used isn’t open to interpretation..

According to the latest report on wealth in Scotland, today’s young people are more reliant on inheritances, rather than earnings, to determine their living standards and wealth. This may prompt parents and grandparents to consider making a financial gift during their lifetime, rather than after.

Latest reports suggest that the city’s economy is gradually rebounding from the effects of the recent downturn in the oil and gas industry. This is evidenced in a study by The UK Power House which places Aberdeen as the best performing city economy in Scotland, with the fifth best rate of growth in the UK. At the beginning of the year Aberdeen was also voted as the best location to launch a start-up business in the whole of UK.

Economic conditions are improving for many employers, with confidence rising amid signs of recovery in the energy industry – that could in turn lead to an increase in the use of employee share schemes and other forms of employee incentivisation.

After successfully quashing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, in a bid to reduce alcohol related harm, minimum pricing of alcoholic drinks will become a part of the Law in Scotland with effect from today, 1 May 2018.

What is LBTT?

On the 1st of April 2015, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (“LBTT”) replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland. LBTT is a property tax applied to residential and commercial land and buildings transactions (including commercial leases). In most cases an LBTT return will require to be made to Revenue Scotland shortly after the date of entry to the property by either the purchaser or tenant (normally submitted by their solicitor).

On 26 February 2018, the Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Act 2017 (the “Act”) came into force which provides a statutory basis for third parties to be granted rights under a contract governed by Scots law.

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