History of Wills in other jurisdictions: Scotland

Scotland (as of 1911)

Up to 1868 wills of immovables were not allowed under Scots law. The usual means of obtaining disposition of heritage after death was a trust disposition and settlement by deed depraesenti, under which the truster disposed the property to trustees according to the trusts of the settlement, reserving a life interest. Thus something very similar to a testamentary disposition was secured by means resembling those employed in England before the Wills Act of Henry VIII. The main disadvantage of the trust disposition was that it was liable to be overthrown by the heir, who could reduce ex capite lecti all voluntary deeds made to his prejudice within sixty days of the death of his ancestor. In 1868 the Titles to Land Consolidation Act made it competent to any owner of lands to settle the succession to the same in the event of death by testamentary or mortis causa deeds or writings. In 1871 reduction ex capite lecti was abolished. A will of immovables must be executed with the formalities of a deed and registered to give title. The disability of a woman as a witness was removed by the Titles to Land Consolidation Act. As to wills of movables, there arc several important points in which they differ from corresponding wills in England, the influence of Roman law being more marked. Males may make a will at fourteen, females at twelve. A nuncupative legacy is good to the amount of £100 Scots (£8, 6s. 8d.), and a holograph testament is good without witnesses, but it must be signed by the testator, differing in this from the old English holograph. By the Conveyancing Act 1874 such a will is presumed to have been executed on the date which it bears. Not all movables can be left, as in England. The movable property of the deceased is subject to jus relictae andlegitime. See McLaren, Wills and Succession, for the law, and Judicial Styles for styles.

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