Half of all deaths in Scotland do not involve lawyers or courts. Dr Reid, of the University of Glasgow’s Law School is carrying out research into how families deal with inheritance. This work has been through our ethics procedures and we are happy to recommend it to ministers. Dr Reid is conducting a short survey of those most likely to come into contact with bereaved families to explore if they have been drawn into family inheritance issues – it can be found at https://forms.office.com/r/5Sw6xu5Cgd until 13 December.
Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes…
Almost every citizen in Scotland is affected by succession law (inheritance) and yet almost no-one knows what the law is. I am currently working with the Scottish Government to help reform this area of law and gain a better understanding of how families deal with inheritance. We already know that it is often a cause of conflict, particularly if family members feel they have not been treated fairly. These feelings run deep and stem from feeling valued (or not) by the person who has died. We also know that in around half of all deaths in Scotland lawyers and courts are not involved. It may be a lack of financial resources if the estate is small; it may be a general reluctance to involve lawyers; it may even be a belief that those left behind can do what they want with the assets and possessions of a parent, brother or sister. However, if the estate is distributed wrongly it can lead to conflict and even litigation. One aim of this project is to develop an ‘inheritance calculator’ – a free-to-use, interactive online tool that will make the legal rules accessible to everyone and will raise awareness that they exist.
In our efforts to understand how families are dealing with inheritance we are conducting a short survey of those most likely to come into contact with bereaved families, asking whether you find yourself being asked about or drawn into family inheritance issues as parish ministers. I would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey, which is open until Monday 13th December.
Dr. Dot Reid (University of Glasgow Law School)