To a large extent, internal succession law in Scotland as well as in England & Wales is unaffected by the result of the EU Referendum.

Cross-Border Succession Planning

With regard to cross-border succession planning within the European bloc, advice in relation to this matter will now change. It had been thought that, although the UK was not a party to the Brussels IV regulation (whereby an individual in a member state is able to elect for the succession rules of another member state to apply to his or her estate), there may have been some circumstances in which UK nationals could elect for the succession law of one part of the UK to apply to his or her entire estate across the whole EU, regardless of where the property is situated. This will no longer be the case.

Adequate Arrangements

The UK would now certainly be regarded as a “third party state” for the purposes of the regulation. This means that it is important for those with assets in more than one European member state to ensure that adequate succession arrangements have been made in each of those member states and that advisers in each of the jurisdictions are aware of the existence of all testamentary writings (such as wills) that have been put in place. It will likely be necessary for such individuals to have wills in place in all countries in which they own land or buildings as, in general, private international law requires that the succession to such assets be governed by the jurisdiction in which the assets are located. It is vital, however, that advice is sought on the way in which those wills are drafted as it is likely that they will need to conform to the formal requirements of more than one jurisdiction in order validly to appoint executors to administer those assets, as well as dovetailing with the terms of wills executed in Scotland and other countries.

If you have any concerns or queries about how your own circumstances may be affected, please contact us.