Letters: Scotland can learn from English inheritance law

New rules which came into force last week in England and Wales in relation to inheritance law highlight the pressing need for reform north of the Border.

Friday, 10th October 2014, 12:45 pm

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act marks an important move in intestacy, which has been subject to much discussion throughout the UK.

In England and Wales, the provisions relating to those who died without a will were outdated, having not been changed for over 100 years.

The position of the surviving spouse or civil partner is now greatly improved and adopted children have a right to their parents’ estates following the parents’ death and prior to adoption by someone else, as well as step-children being afforded access to step-parents’ assets.

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It is important the law continues to evolve in order to reflect modern life. These changes go some way in reflecting the diverse range of familial situations that are more common nowadays.

There is a danger this further complexity will result in an increase in disputes. However, the benefits are likely to outweigh issues faced by the majority of families dealing with an estate which is not subject to a will.

Scotland’s current act for dealing with them was implemented 50 years ago. In recent years there has been a lot of discussion but little action about reviewing the rules. The Scottish Law Commission produced a report in 2009 but nothing has happened in the intervening five years.

With a reported 70 per cent of people failing to make a will before they die, intestacy is a significant issue. In an ideal world, everyone would have a will in place, but this is simply not the case. Intestacy laws need to ensure the fairest outcome for loved ones of the deceased.

The rules in Scotland are widely regarded as outdated and overdue for review. I would urge we use the changes in effect in England and Wales as a spur to action to review our system.

Tessa Till, Partner, Pagan Osborne, George Street, Edinburgh

Turkey should step up its protection efforts

Pictures are emerging of women and children armed with AK-47s fighting to the death in Syria to defend their city of Kobani against their Islamic State enemies.

No one can fail to be moved by these pictures. Except Turkey, that is, which has done nothing despite pledging to stop Kobani from falling to IS.

Turkey refuses to allow the allies to use its air bases. The Turkish government is said to fear encouraging Kurdish separatist movement inside its own borders.

Their tanks and other ground forces have been stationed along the border within a few hundred metres of the fighting but have not intervened.

They sit idle while thousands of civilians are at risk of rape, torture, crucifixion and ultimately death by beheading.

Turkey is a member of Nato so should be told to step up to the mark and get involved or they will be thrown out of Nato and face economic sanctions, including banning all flights to and from Turkey.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Time for SNP to bring its sour grapes to end

THE SNP seems to claim victory for the Yes campaign. They say on September 18 Scotland voted for change – funny I thought the No to independence voters had won the day by more than ten per cent.

They claim that Yes voters came from all parties – don’t they think for a moment that this also applied to the No side as well? Obviously many who voted SNP at the last Holyrood election must have voted No, otherwise the numbers would not have stacked up.

We heard a lot from Alex Salmond beforehand that the result would be accepted by both sides – or had he not contemplated a No result?

It’s about time the Yes people had a look at the result and accepted it, or are sour grapes going to last forever?

Scott Miller, Joppa (address supplied)

Council could get a tighter financial grip

The City of Edinburgh Council website Interactive Budget Planner is farcical. Every small percentage reduction comes with a warning of doom, massive closures and a return to the dark ages.

What it side-steps telling us is by how much these budgets have all grown in recent years.

If councillors have allowed various spends to increase steadily over recent years (highly likely) would it really hurt to revert them to, say, 2012 levels of expenditure? Whatever we spent two or three years ago was seen as adequate and did the job so would it really be so terrible to cut back to those levels until Westminster’s austerity cuts back off a bit – as they most certainly will, given time.

Additionally, it makes no mention of privatising waste collections or abolishing the DLO – two simple measures which would reap long term (and proven) financial benefits.

But there I go again, confusing common sense with this inward-facing council of fools.

Norrie Henderson, Corstorphine (address supplied)

Desperately seeking my cousin Marjorie

I am trying to trace my cousin Marjorie Rae (nee Cook) – who I last heard was living in Balerno.

My sister Jeanette lives in Australia and asked if I could try to make contact on her behalf.

Does anyone out there know of Marjorie’s whereabouts – if so could they please get in touch via the Evening News letters page?

David Smith, Ferrygait Place, Edinburgh