Under consideration PE1904: Change Scots law to disqualify estranged spouses from making claims on an estate

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to define in law the difference between a legally married cohabiting couple and a legally married non-cohabiting couple, for the purposes of ensuring that an estranged spouse cannot inherit their spouse’s assets.

Previous action taken

I have contacted my local MSP, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Keith Brown, but feel that I've been fobbed off with politeness.

Background information

Currently, even if a married non-cohabiting couple have chosen to live apart, other than to receive care, an estranged spouse can still demand the bulk of their spouse’s estate when they die.

I believe that, when a couple choose to live apart, they should forfeit their claims to each other's estates. This would enable other family members to manage their loved one's affairs without the possible malice of an estranged spouse.

Organisations like the Scottish Public Pensions Agency can acknowledge such a marriage separation without seeking a legal document, other than proof of address.

I believe that Scots law should be modernised, to reflect that many have second marriages or common law spouses.

Currently, the natural family of the spouse that dies is effectively disinherited, receiving only a portion of one quarter of the remaining estate after the prior rights claim is settled while the estranged spouse receives the bulk of the estate.

  • Created by Christina Fisher
  • Considered from 21 October 2021

This petition is now under consideration by the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee

Find out about the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee’s discussion of this petition

32 signatures